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Why Volkswagen is helping a union organize

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This week at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., 1,570 workers will voteon whether to join the United Auto Workers. It's a big deal: While the big three American carmakers are all unionized, so far the foreign companies have avoided it by locating in Southern states with strong Right to Work laws. From their perspective, unions usually just mean work stoppages, expensive benefit plans, and the inability to fire people at will.

That's what's weird about the VW vote: The German company is campaigning for the UAW, not against it, in a kind of employer-union partnership America has seldome seen. What gives?

Well, VW is kind of different, as automakers go. It understands how having a union can boost productivity and allow it greater flexibility in adjusting to downturns. It should know: The rest of its plants are unionized too.

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Guess other employers in Tennessee are livid.... :innocent:

Edited by questionmark
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So proud of that VW badge on my hood today :gun:

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This is exactly how and why a unionized workforce can be a huge benefit to American Workers.

If treated like a partnership instead of a 'us vs. them', I think it would help Corporations more than they realize.

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This is exactly how and why a unionized workforce can be a huge benefit to American Workers.

If treated like a partnership instead of a 'us vs. them', I think it would help Corporations more than they realize.

Volkswagen has a lot of good experience with unions, in Germany two members of the works council get a place on the board of directors. Their input has proven invaluable.

And I always said it, I rather negotiate with one union than five hundred worker separately. The former is cheaper.

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i'm sorry but i can't see how and why union would be beneficial to manufacturer. it sure is beneficial to lazy a s s workers who can't be fired.

big 3 showed exactly why it is not, and toyota,and honda plants, showed again how not having union helps.

idk what vw is trying to pull, but will see how it works out latter.

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-30/how-union-law-hurts-a-nonunion-auto-plant.html

A group of rank-and-file Volkswagen workers in Tennessee has been less enthusiastic. They are aware that almost every job lost in the auto industry over the past three decades has been a union job. With rare exceptions, nonunion auto plants have avoided mass layoffs, while unionized facilities have downsized again and again. Hopping on that bandwagon holds little appeal. These employees have printed and distributed anti-UAW handouts, held meetings and created a website urging their fellow workers to vote “no.”

The UAW says it has majority support for union representation based on publicly signed cards. But some workers at the Chattanooga plant claim the UAW misled them about what signing the cards meant, and several have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

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I know quite a few people who are in this group. Incidentally, the raise that the UAW is proposing/demanding won't even pay their union dues.

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Further, the UAW’s reputation for being unreasonable is well earned. The union’s contracts foisted a so-called jobs bank on General Motors Co. (GM), Ford Motor Co. (F) and Chrysler Group LLC. This provision, which the UAW insisted on until the auto bailout, forced the companies to pay almost full wages to laid-off workers. The automakers spent billions paying ex-employees to fill out crossword puzzles.

The UAW also makes removing poor performers almost impossible, a policy that encourages costly absenteeism. It even got Chrysler workers who were suspended for smoking pot on the job reinstated.

UAW work rules further hamper productivity. Before GM’s restructuring, each plant had as many as 15 categories of workers, all strictly prohibited from doing one another’s jobs. If one worker’s absence stopped the assembly line, a worker of another type could not step up to the plate. In the 2000s, it took GM 6 percent to 17 percent more man-hours to produce a vehicle than it took for Toyota Motor Corp.

The union swears that it has changed, and that its works council will improve productivity. But workers would have to take the UAW’s word for it. The law won’t stop the union from negotiating a broader collective-bargaining agreement.

Many Volkswagen workers -- correctly -- look warily at the experience of Volkswagen’s only other U.S. plant, in New Stanton, Pennsylvania. The UAW organized the plant in 1978. Almost immediately, the workers went on strike. The plant lurched from strike to strike and shut down 10 years later. All the union members lost their jobs; the plant could not survive profitably as a UAW operation.

This story has repeated itself at many UAW operations. A decade ago, General Motors employed 120,000 union members. Now it has 50,000. Employment at nonunion automakers held steadyover that time.

more here http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-30/how-union-law-hurts-a-nonunion-auto-plant.html

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I was hoping someone would read the entire article, aztek. :tu:

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i'm sorry but i can't see how and why union would be beneficial to manufacturer. it sure is beneficial to lazy a s s workers who can't be fired.

Here in Oz, all the "your rights at work" posters I've seen include the phrase "as long as you abide by the code of conduct you agreed to when joining this workforce".

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i'm sure things here are done somewhat different than in Oz. may be unions as they are in Oz are not such a bad thing, but here we have overwelming evidence it hurts manufactures. it is not even limited to uaw.

when pontiac could not come up with 4 door sports sedan (my guess R&D funds were used for someoting else , may be uaw related) , they took holden, and put pontiac g8 badge on it.

one of the best v8 rwd sedans of the time period sold in usa. unfortunatly it did not save pontiac, they had to close it,. along with saturn, and oldsmobille before.

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It's just a big fallacy that people cannot be fired while participating in a union. I've worked in several union shops and I've seen it happen. It's just that they have to have just cause to do so, and back up the claims.

Although I did see once where the shop supervisor started a drunken fist fight with one of his subordinates during off hours at the local bar. Then, I guess because he lost the fight, promptly fired the employee on the following day. The union helped this man get his job back.

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in related news:

Automaker Gives Its Blessings, and G.O.P. Its Warnings

{snip}

State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned on Monday that if VW’s workers voted to embrace the U.A.W., the Republican-controlled Legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand.

“The members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee,” Mr. Watson said at a news conference. He added that a pro-U.A.W. vote would make it “exponentially more challenging” for the legislature to approve future subsidies.

A loss of such incentives, industry analysts say, could persuade Volkswagen to award production of a new S.U.V. to its plant in Mexico instead of to the Chattanooga plant, which currently assembles the Passat.

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so much for free market leaving decisions to the companies... or in plain English: 'I'd rather have the whole bunch of y'all unemployed than in a Union'.

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well being in UAW got hundreds of thousands lose their jobs, due to plants relocation. (that is only those that worked at the plants, not counting suppliers, that lost contracts), now hundreds of thousands in mexico and canada have their jobs. (entire city of detroit, is in deep sh..) can UAW get their jobs back? no. was uaw the reason they lost it? absolutely. so imo, Watson may not be so wrong after all. he did leave desision to the company, if they can run their buissnes without gvmnt subsuidies than, they have nothing to worry about, if they want gvmnt subsidies, than it is not such a free market after all. is it?

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It is an interesting sign, assuming it's an honest vote. The unions have been losing influence for maybe 20 years by now.

It sounds like maybe there was some trickery going on, or just old fashioned tempting with lucrative deals.

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There is nothing fundamentally wrong with organised unions giving workers negotiating power against employers. However, like in any hierarchal system, the abuse of power can create issues.

Setting limits on the powers of unions is the job of govt - who should provide the balance between business and people.

While there are numerous examples of unions harming the workforce they are supposed to be protecting, and so harming business, there are more instances of unions being beneficial to both parties by helping achieve a balance between company profit and worker reward.

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Now the UAW says it will review all their legal options and consider challenging the results because of the politicians getting involved, which is ridiculous. None of our politicians said a word until about ten days ago, when they finally weighed in their opinion. I know a lot of people who work there and they all had their minds made up a year ago whether they wanted to go union or not. One group of employees is filing a class action suit against the UAW for misrepresentation. They, the employees, are considering forming their own union, because of a US law which says they can't have a work council, like VW has with employees in Germany, unless they have a union.

I am able to get a bunch of inside poop because I know people on the lines and in management.

Edited by Michelle
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and in related news:

VW workers may block southern U.S. deals if no unions: labor chief

(Reuters) - Volkswagen's top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized.

Workers at VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.

German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined "co-determination" principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.

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Edited by questionmark

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does one need anymore proof that unions are basically extortion mob??

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does one need anymore proof that unions are basically extortion mob??

The German Union's money made VW (though involuntarily, Adolf created the company withe the Union's money after dissolving them), so they cannot be any less in favor of unions, without unions they would not be one of the 3 biggest car companies in the world.

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The German Union's money made VW (though involuntarily, Adolf created the company withe the Union's money after dissolving them), so they cannot be any less in favor of unions, without unions they would not be one of the 3 biggest car companies in the world.

but uaw is not german union, far from it. hell almost any union in usa is an extortion mob.

Edited by aztek

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So, does VW have ulterior motives, being pro UAW/Democrats, or are they going to give the employees a chance to set up their own independent union which they are working on as we speak? The employees attorneys are also looking for a loophole in the law that says they can't have a work council without belonging to a corrupt organization such as the UAW. It isn't just the folks from the area that were against unionizing with the UAW. I know one lady, that moved here from Germany with VW, who after she investigated into the UAW was adamantly opposed to having anything to do with them. She wasn't eligible to vote however, because she is management.

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So, does VW have ulterior motives, being pro UAW/Democrats, or are they going to give the employees a chance to set up their own independent union which they are working on as we speak? The employees attorneys are also looking for a loophole in the law that says they can't have a work council without belonging to a corrupt organization such as the UAW. It isn't just the folks from the area that were against unionizing with the UAW. I know one lady, that moved here from Germany with VW, who after she investigated into the UAW was adamantly opposed to having anything to do with them. She wasn't eligible to vote however, because she is management.

They got were they are by having worker's input through the works council (in Germany they have one for about 50 years), as they cannot have a works council without a union (by law) they will either have a union or the will close down Chattanooga and refuse to invest wherever they can't get one.

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They got were they are by having worker's input through the works council (in Germany they have one for about 50 years), as they cannot have a works council without a union (by law) they will either have a union or the will close down Chattanooga and refuse to invest wherever they can't get one.

It's either the UAW or nothing? It is possible to have an independent union you know. As far as I've heard they aren't planning on closing the Chattanooga plant, just not adding the extra line. You'd think VW would have done a little more research into the history of unionization in the south if that was the case. And laws can be changed when it comes to the work council only working with unions, if necessary.

Edited by Michelle

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