Southern hospitality?

Southern hospitality?

By Raymond Freeman 03/20/2014


German cars are superb. The reasons are simple.


Germans use their heads better than we do. Further education is free, so they produce lots of engineers. Employers have apprenticeships and produce lots of skilled workers. They pay workers well, as did Henry Ford, creating prosperity, producing sales. Above all, they treat workers as intelligent human beings. By law, unions are on company boards and in every factory. “Our works councils are the key to our success and productivity,” a Volkswagen executive said.


Works councils arose after WWI, were abolished by the Nazis and reinstated by the British. (The Volkswagen plant was in their sector.) They’re successful: Volkswagen has become the biggest carmaker in the world (third, counting light trucks). Considering it was in ruins in 1945, that’s not bad.


Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., is nonunion. It’s planning a major expansion and wants a works council. Under federal law, that needs a union. Workers have the right to a vote in an “atmosphere free of coercion, intimidation and interference.” So VW signed a neutrality agreement with the United Auto Workers to ensure a fair vote.


But Republicans were furious. They were afraid that things would work out well and lead to more unionized workers. So they resorted to their usual dirty tricks of intimidation and lying. Lies were spread and not rebutted, because the agreement prohibited house visits by pro-union workers to explain the truth. In America, dirty tricks work.


Putting politics before jobs, Republican State Sen. Bo Watson threatened that if the union drive succeeded, the Republican legislature would vote against future incentives for VW. Gov. Bill Haslam warned that suppliers would not locate to the area if the plant was unionized. This was laughably false, as VW would need millions more components. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., claimed he’d had “assurances” that VW would expand the factory only if workers rejected the UAW. This obvious lie was rebutted by VW. Corker doubled down. In America, lies work.


The worst intimidation came from outsiders. Grover Norquist and the billionaire Koch brothers cranked up spuriously named outfits like the Workplace Fairness Institute and Center for Worker Freedom. They slimed the UAW for having supported President Barack Obama (appealing to racists). They said that unionized carmakers were bankrupt, which is entirely false. They told workers that unionization would “imperil their employer,” which is laughably false. Norquist’s storm troopers put up billboards screaming that Chattanooga would become the “next Detroit.” No other democratic country has organizations spreading outright falsehoods to bamboozle its citizens into ignorance and fear.


The Germans were astounded at the sheer viciousness of the opposition. They use the frontal part of the brain to reason logically. Republicans operate on people’s ignorance and fear by manipulating the primitive part of the brain. They’ve spent millions perfecting this technique in “think tanks.” Obviously, the goal is to prevent thinking.


Even though a majority of the workers had signed cards saying they wanted the UAW, it was defeated. The vote was 626 for, 712 against, 165 abstaining (42 percent, 47 percent, 11 percent). A worker said the majority voted against the UAW because they believed the union would take away their guns (!). And they believed the union had hurt Detroit’s carmakers, as if the Germans were the stupid ones.  


The UAW issued a statement saying, “We’re outraged by politicians and outside special interest groups interfering with the basic legal right of workers to form a union.” VW executive Frank Fischer was shocked as he announced the result. He said, “Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law to meet VW America’s production needs and serve our employees’ interests.”  


Question: Why do Germans want to serve America’s interests better than Republicans do?


Answer: Frankly, my dear, Republicans don’t give a damn about America’s interests. They don’t want America’s economy run for the benefit of regular Americans. It’s run for the benefit of the GOP’s aristocracy and the “political donor class,” its billionaires. A fearful, beaten-down workforce desperate for anything suits them just fine, as in Victorian Britain. Don’t expect to learn this from America’s lazy, corporate-owned media. But Britain’s Guardian stated that VW workers get paid $67 per hour in Germany. They make under $20 per hour here. Republicans want to keep it that way. Productivity has soared in the U.S. but wages have been stagnant since 1975. Hence, the redistribution of wealth upward has been immense. That’s why Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, said America has become like Downton Abbey. Democrats can’t get this simple message out.


But I’m optimistic. The guy with the world’s biggest bully pulpit has condemned such glaring inequality. That’s Pope Francis. And a Volkswagen might well avoid the South altogether in future. I’ll die laughing if they build a new factory in Detroit.

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Comments

Another home run by Ray. Conservatives really are disgusting.

posted by bobjohnson on 3/24/14 @ 05:17 a.m.

Raymond you're chock full of crap. As a liberal person from the East Coast you know NOTHING of the South or its people, so why do you try?
Comparing German workers to US workers is also a silly thing. German's are very good at manufacturing, that's true. At an early age they determine which kid is destined for white collar work and which kid goes into trades. That is an excellent method for extracting the best form it's population. Here in America we are not so hierarchical.
The UAW is a failure. What does it take to destroy the once largest corporation in the world, GM? Ask the UAW they know! They did it. If we are to believe, as you do, that smart business people conspired to slime the UAW, then we have to assume Tennessee workers don't have eyes and ears. They KNOW what the UAW did to GM, they know what Detroit is today. Southerners are different, they don't like phony's and the don't like flaky left wingers.
As to political motives by Republicans, you have to remember that taxpayer money was used to lure VW to Tennessee, and unlike California or New York, Republican politicians in places like Tennessee actually remember where money comes from, taxpayers. The politicians you mention had every right to protect Tennessee taxpayer money in trying to deflect the UAW, again, they are not blind, deaf and dumb, they know the UAW.
If Federal laws forbids a workers council at VW (without a union), then Federal law needs to change. I would BET that UAW pressure is responsible for the stipulation. Maybe you should look into that Raymond?
Your propaganda is so wrong it's hurtful.
Go Tennessee!

posted by Scapegoat on 3/24/14 @ 06:13 p.m.

Dear Scapegoat, Are you speaking for Tennessee? The UAW did not destroy Detroit and taxpayer dollars should not be used to suppress workers. Your rebuttal makes no sense. I'm with Ray - I'd love to see VW build their next factory in Detroit now that they understand how things work in the South.

posted by Mattyster on 3/28/14 @ 12:17 p.m.

So Germans are smarter than Americans, further education is "free" in Germany, and Republicans don't give a hoot about America's interests? Why do you stay here? You can't find some pathetic job like this in Berlin? I know people who have moved there quite easily. It's great that the money for education comes from a money tree and that they have "used their heads" to cause misery and murder around the world. I'll drive you to the airport. The paper can find a worthy replacement sleeping on a bench on the boardwalk.

posted by Packer on 3/31/14 @ 11:57 a.m.

Dear Matty, Are you Ray's child? The UAW did not destroy Detroit, they destroyed GM. They destroyed Detroit by proxy.
BTW, ALL foreign car manufacturers set up in the South.
ALL have avoided Detroit, like Detroit is full of plague.
Well, it is full of plague in a manner of speaking.
GM, once the WORLDS LARGEST CORPORATION, was killed by the UAW. Bankrupted.
That's quite an achievement.
NO, I don't speak for Tennessee, but I do speak for common sense and I know some history.
Stop praising Ray and get some common sense!

posted by Scapegoat on 4/01/14 @ 07:35 a.m.
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