The United Auto Workers (UAW), having sucked Detroit dry, are looking South for fresh blood.
The union lusts after Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant, tucked like a gleaming jewel among the mountains and waterways of Southeastern Tennessee. And it’s getting more than a little help from friends in Washington in its push to organize the facility.
Late last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dismissed complaints from Chattanooga VW workers that the union had illegally used misrepresentation to gain signatures on union authorization cards.
After the NLRB news broke, word spread like wildfire in the community that the long-threatened union election was imminent. Union officials would love for the process to unfold quickly — they don’t want pro-company employees to have the time to make their case to coworkers — and Obama’s NLRB is falling over itself to oblige.
No wonder: The UAW has been a left-wing ATM machine for decades. In 2012 alone its political spending totaled $14.7 million, including $1.7 million on mostly liberal candidates, including Barack Obama. After the election UAW chief Bob King bragged that he and his “progressive allies” had “scored a huge victory” by re-electing Obama. And the union’s presumptive next president, Dennis Williams, was an Obama campaign organizer in 2008.
Turns out the union got a great return on that investment — in the 2009 bailout, Obama handed the car companies to the union that had bankrupted them, and used our money to do it. Now it looks to many like Obama’s NLRB is helping the union muscle its way into Volkswagen.
Chattanoogans — the vast majority of whom lean conservative or libertarian — feel betrayed. No one told them, when the deal was being made to bring VW to their area, that it would mean inviting this union viper into their bed. They know that if the UAW gets a foothold in their community it will bring its progressive agenda to Tennessee, using newly engorged coffers to fund left-wing politicians and causes in their backyard and throughout the South.
And residents are disgusted that the union’s underhanded tactics are being swept under the rug. Mike Burton, a VW worker who witnessed union malfeasance first-hand and who runs the website no2uaw.com as a resource for his fellow workers, reacted swiftly to the NLRB’s decision, saying “misrepresentation [on the part of the union] did occur … we have over 600 signatures from hourly employees [at the plant] who do not want the UAW.” Burton vows the matter “will be appealed.”
Don Jackson, who ran the plant as president of manufacturing until 2012, is also appalled. Jackson, still a Chattanooga resident, told this writer that it appears the supervisors in the plant are under gag order, as they seem unwilling or unable to communicate to the workers the dangers of UAW representation. Jackson hopes his former team members will take it upon themselves to “get the facts” about the union and its job-killing legacy — before it’s too late.
I have a feeling they will. Chattanooga is not a big city, but it has a big heart and a sharp eye, as Bob King and Barack Obama are about to find out.
Matt Patterson is Executive Director, Center for Worker Freedom, at Americans for Tax Reform. Mpatterson@atr.org