Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker may end up finding that his decision to inject himself into the debate, and threaten the workers at the Volkswagen auto plant in his state ahead of their vote on whether to unionize is going to come back to bite him.
I agree with Ed Schultz in the clip above, who opened his show this Wednesday evening asking whether the NLRB ought to get involved and go after Corker for unfair labor practices following the revelations that not only were his threats about VW not wanting to build another plant in the south if they unionized a bald faced lie, it also appears that the exact opposite is true.
This news (via Reuters) falls with the predictable weight of another shoe dropping, but it’s interesting that it’s happening so fast, even as conservatives everywhere are still celebrating the successful intimidation of VW workers in Tennessee by local Republican politicians:
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….
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.
Chattanooga is VW’s only factory in the U.S. and one of the company’s few in the world without a works council.
“I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again,” said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council.
“If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor” of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW’s supervisory board, said.↓ Story continues below ↓
The 20-member panel - evenly split between labor and management - has to approve any decision on closing plants or building new ones.
I’m sure most Republicans don’t consider Osterloh a legitimate representative of VW management, which has had this socialistic “co-determination” system foisted upon it by socialistic Big Government in Germany (known to U.S. conservatives in other contexts, of course, as the heroic champions of public-sector austerity). But the fact remains that Bob Corker and other noisy opponents of UAW representation of VW workers in Tennessee used the argument that VW would surely send any new work somewhere else if the union was approved to great effect in the runup to last week’s election. It would be richly ironic if that argument turned out to be off by 180 degrees.
Heaven forbid anyone here in the U.S. looks at their workers as an asset rather than a commodity that we need a race to the bottom on, and can't even afford to pay the minimum wage if it means fewer jobs at starvation wages.
Heaven forbid a company might increase their bottom line and increase their profits if they actually took into account the opinions of the workers who keep the place running day in and day out and not just the management at the company that usually gets promoted by telling those above them want they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.
Heaven forbid we've got the hypocritical pols like Corker screaming "free markets" on one hand, but having no problem injecting himself and "big government" into this fight. In GOP world, that level of hypocrisy is not only acceptable, it's expected.