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When management welcomes union, GOP turns thug

A Volkswagen assembly line.
A Volkswagen assembly line.
Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F038795-0007 / Schaack, Lothar / CC-BY-SA [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

You can always count on Republican politicians to support corporate attempts to snuff out unions. What's not normal, is when Republican politicians try to bully potential unionizers that corporate management is welcoming. But that is exactly what is happening in Tennessee.

According to the NY Times, State Senator Bo Watson (R) threatened on Monday that if Volkswagen’s workers voted to join the United Automobile Workers union, the Republican-controlled Legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand. It really shows the Republican disconnect from reality when politicians publicly make such blatant, mafioso-like threats.

“This is an outrageous and unprecedented effort by state officials to violate the rights of employers and workers,” said Mike Turner, chairman of Tennessee’s House Democratic Caucus. “Republicans are basically threatening to kill jobs if workers exercise their federally protected rights to organize. When the company says they don’t have a problem with it, what right does the state have to come in and say they can’t do it?”

Volkswagen is looking forward to having a German-style works council at their American plant, but to do that the workers have to unionize first. Works councils in Germany are a type of governing body for an industrial plant that includes workers and management in its membership. In America, a union is the way workers establish their representatives, and thus is a necessary first step in building a works council.

Tennessee Republicans, Grover Norquist, and his group, Americans for Tax Reform, have all joined the anti-union campaign, ironically warning that a U.A.W. victory would help bring big government to Tennessee. Most Republicans would agree that if a corporation and its employees are happy with their arrangement then the government should stay out of it. But, like everything else in the Republican platform, arguments against Big Government only count when it's convenient.