Union given kick in the pants, told to sling their hooks

Workers at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee have voted to turn their backs on the possibility of union representation.

In a stinging defeat that could accelerate the decades-long decline of the United Auto Workers, Volkswagen AG workers voted against union representation at a Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which had been seen as organized labor’s best chance to expand in the U.S. South.

The loss, 712 to 626, capped a sprint finish to a long race and was particularly surprising for UAW supporters, because Volkswagen had allowed the union access to the factory and officially stayed neutral on the vote, while other manufacturers have been hostile to organized labor.

UAW spent more than two years organizing and then called a snap election in an agreement with VW. German union IG Metall worked with the UAW to pressure VW to open its doors to organizers, but anti-union forces dropped a bombshell after the first of three days of voting.  Read more »

The Diary of Comrade Kate, Ctd

Tuesday 11th of September

Bad day. The boss caught me talking to the AFL-CIO guys in the Koru lounge. The petite bourgeoisie are so tiresome. Will meet up with the brothers and sisters tomorrow night at the Intercontinental when back from kicking the CEO of POAL in the arse. Always good to sing workers anthems in the big suite on the top floor there.

No lunch. Koru food awful. How can people eat this rubbish? Managed to slip the koru lounge staff some SFU membership forms that nice Andrew Little gave me. They gave me a doggie bag to drop off at the city mission on my way to the port.

Face of the Day

The angry face of organised labour in the US.

Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO), speaks during Day Two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Why people hate unions

Some more good commentary about Wisconsin’s recall election.

If unions just represented workers rights from the excesses of the worst employers they would be much more palatable to most people to join. Instead we get a bunch of unpleasant, arrogant, holier than thou class warriors who fight battles lost years and years ago.

It is little wonder the Labour Party is getting its share of the vote gobbled up by the Greens. Moroney, Fenton, Little, Mallard and other union hacks go into God Mode and send people looking for a viable left wing alternative, which the low rat cunning of Russel Norman is providing.

The second harbinger was the plunge in public-employee union membership. The most important of Walker’s reforms, the change Big Labor had fought most bitterly, was ending the automatic withholding of union dues. That made union membership a matter of choice, not compulsion — and tens of thousands of government workers chose to toss their union cards. More than one-third of the Wisconsin members of the American Federation of Teachers quit,reported The Wall Street Journal. At the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, one of the state’s largest unions, the hemorrhaging was worse: AFSCME’s Wisconsin rolls shrank by more than 34,000 over the past year, a 55 percent nose-dive.

Did government workers tear up their union cards solely because the union had lost its right to bargain collectively on their behalf? That’s doubtful: Even under the new law, unions still negotiate over salaries. More likely, public-sector employees ditched their unions for the same reasons so many employees in the private sector — which is now less than 7 percent unionized— have done so: Many never wanted to join a union in the first place. Others were repelled by the authoritarian, belligerent, and left-wing political culture that entrenched unionism so often embodies.