HOT BLAST: Fallout from the VW union defeat in Chattanooga
Feb 18, 2014 | 1560 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
United Auto Workers President Bob King speaks to the media after workers at a Volkswagen factory voted against union representation in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday.
United Auto Workers President Bob King speaks to the media after workers at a Volkswagen factory voted against union representation in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday.
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The Volkswagon plant in Chattanooga is one of the many foreign automaker facilities that have taken up shop in the South. News last week that workers there had voted against unionizing with the United Auto Workers could have far-reaching implications, especially at Alabama's auto plants.

That said, opinions about the union's defeat in Chattanooga are as varied as you'd expect. This collection of viewpoints published online at the New York Times provides a perfect example.

From Linda Chavez, who worked in the Reagan White House: "It’s hard to imagine the labor movement reversing its steady, 60-year decline in membership, and certainly not in parts of the country where union politics are out of sync with the very people they’re hoping will join. At the Chattanooga VW plant, the U.A.W. could not persuade enough workers that the union represented their best interests to win a representation election, even with management’s virtual endorsement. Critics have blamed Republicans and conservative groups for the union’s bad showing, but the labor movement has only itself to blame."

From Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University: "There seems to be a consensus forming that the South is hostile territory for unions and that organizing in the South, particularly in manufacturing, is a fruitless endeavor. Such a conclusion would not only be a grievous error, but it might also derail the future of the labor movement and progressive politics."

Those are only two of the experts quoted in The Times. Take a look at the rest of them and see if you agree with their takes.

-- Phillip Tutor
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