When it comes to business relationships, Republicans like to trump out the rule of Non-Interference. Government shall not regulate nor involve itself in the affairs of private businesses because government is wasteful and toxic while businesses are efficient and profitable. But this rule is always trumped by the ultimate Republican rule: Never miss an opportunity to screw the little person.
If you are like me, you probably read the official-looking National Report article and believed were duped to believe that because the new Tennessee VW factory rejected unionization, Volkswagen relocated and Chattanooga lost over three thousand jobs directly. This parody article would be the exact opposite of the old anti-union propaganda spread throughout RepublicanLand: The bosses were real nice to us but the unions got too greedy and destroyed the company and leave the nice but wise boss with no other alternative but to kill the worksite and find new workers desperate enough willing to work for sub-living wages. E. Scrooge and Co. is awfully generous, but as soon as Bob Crotchett complains about Little Timmy or the one-candle per year rule, Scrooge’s hands are tied.
But, like the myth of the boss knowing what is best for employees, the article wasn’t true. It was satire. However, I found there was much truth in it, and I thought I should share some of that with you, my pretties.
For instance, VW leadership was actually pretty pissed at Republicans and the anti-union culture propagated in the US South. VW, being German and coming from a Social Democracy, runs decisions having to do with its factories through a hybrid team of management/stockholders and workers. The Work Council in the US has to be run through a worker’s union. Despite what Bob Corker says, there aren’t a lot of other options – it’d be illegal to set up a Work Council without going through union membership. So, VW headship actually had its heart set on having a union. The head of the VW Worker’s Council said that he doesn’t expect to set up another VW factory in the US South because of the anti-union climate.
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.
Secondly, it was Republicans – led by Tennessee’s US Senator Bob Corker (R- because of course!) – that thwarted the will of the company. Because VW, we should probably keep in mind, while no Marxist paradise, is also no ALEC/Koch Bros/Freedom Industries copycat. Now, Corker swears that he isn’t anti-union, he just doesn’t believe that the United Auto Workers should be the people responsible for organizing and representing workers’ concerns. So what union should represent auto workers if not the United Auto Workers union? The American Federation of Teachers? No. The SEIU? AFL-CIO? No. He undoubtedly isn’t a fan of any of those. Senator Corker doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for the workers or the industry here. Nor, oddly, for the company he says he’s close with.
He basis this belief that the UAW is disrespectful and antagonistic largely on how he is treated when he visits a UAW plant. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s treated in such a way when he has a history of anti-worker animus and anti-union propaganda. According to Wonkblog’s Lydia Depillis:
That may be because the Spring Hill workers have a particular animus towards Corker, who publicly sparred with the UAW during the auto bailout hearings and wanted to impose more stringent requirements on the car companies, including that they slash wages to the levels of their foreign competitors. Corker has been booed when he’s showed up at the plant since.
Poor Corker. Can’t you just feel the sadz? When you work hard against the workers as a part of your anti-union propaganda, you get booed.
Third, in addition to generational anti-union propaganda (which is also spreading like wild-fire through the upper Midwest, afflicting former worker-representative stalwarts like Detroit, Chicago, and Wisconsin), Corker outright lied to his own people and promised them more production – another car line. So, now is he not just opposing the will of the company while pretending to represent the company’s interest, he’s claiming to speak for the company while lying to the people – promising something that is not true.
Again, a Republican lied (I know, double-big surprise) to workers who would like to ensure a long career for themselves and their cousins and friends. More production means more jobs. More jobs means less unemployment. And these are people who have passed down the myth of union’s costing jobs and production from generation to generation. It’s a testament to the goodness of humanity that the vote was close at all.
But whatever happened to the Rule of Non-Interference? Oh yeah. Corker jumped on the chance to make sure that poor workers wouldn’t be inspired to organize for decent and healthy working conditions, pay or benefits. Like public workers in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, whose unions have been radically de-toothed and who are losing pay and benefits while the union is imploding due to anti-union propaganda and anti-organizing laws.
It’s not the fault of workers. It’s the fault of interfering politicians who despise workers. A plantation-style economy with bosses on top and disposable, cheap laborers below is a neoliberal paradise (let’s call it Boss Culture) – even when the bosses don’t want that.
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