The people who pretentiously call themselves journalists at the News Media Guild-represented Associated Press are really having a hard time getting over the representation election the United Auto Workers union lost two weeks ago at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The latest whine came from Erik Schelzig Friday afternoon. He must have believed he was being really hard-hitting in trying to hold Volunteer State Senator Bob Corker to his word that “If the UAW is voted down they’re going to come here … and affirm they’re going to build a line here” within two weeks. Well, Erik, Corker clearly miscalculated. The Senator never dreamed that the UAW would appeal a secret-ballot vote it lost by 6.4 percent of the ballots cast, and also underestimated the chances of retalation by the U.S. government and the company’s German union. Several paragraphs from Erik’s execrable essay follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
NO SIGN OF EXPANSION AT PLANT WHERE UAW DEALT LOSS
Friday marks the end of the two-week period within which U.S. Sen. Bob Corker promised Volkswagen would announce another line at its factory in Tennessee if workers there rejected representation by the United Auto Workers union.
So far, there’s little sign of any pending announcement.
Workers at the Chattanooga plant ended up voting 712-626 against the UAW, in an election the union claims was tainted by threats and intimidation from Republicans like Corker, Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers.
The UAW last week filed a challenge with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking to have results voided and a new election to be held.
incentives to secure the new line at the plant, and Corker’s statements that a vote against the union would be followed in short order an expansion announcement.
“If the UAW is voted down they’re going to come here immediately, within a two week period, and affirm they’re going to build a line here,” Corker told The Associated Press the day before the conclusion of the three-day vote.
The Senator also dismissed the repeated claim by Volkswagen that a decision about whether to build a new SUV either in Chattanooga or at a plant in Mexico was unrelated to the union vote.
… “Senator Corker knew exactly what he was doing,” according to the filing.
Corker blamed the UAW appeal – and the resulting delay in certifying the results of the union election – for putting a hold on expansion talks at the plant.
Here are two other factors Corker didn’t anticipate, simply because he underestimated the unwillingness of the union and the President of the United States to accept a fair-and-square outcome.
Yes, Barack Obama, the President of the United States, also intervened in the election, something which Schelzig and the AP have chosen to deliberately ignore for two weeks. Specifically, as reported by Reuters, Obama weighed in early Friday morning, the last day of balloting, i.e., the same day Corker did, with comments clearly intended to be leaked:
President Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.
Obama’s comments, made at a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, came as the vote to allow union representation at the Chattanooga plant drew to a close.
… Obama’s interjection in the war of words on Friday, albeit behind closed doors, underscored how much is stake in the three-day vote by VW’s 1,550 hourly workers. The vote is due to end at 8:30 p.m. ET and the results could be announced soon after that.
Obama said everyone was in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen except for local politicians who “are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers,” according to a Democratic aide who attended the meeting with Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
“Everyone” apparently doesn’t include the 712 workers who voted against UAW representation.
As I’ve noted before, Obama’s comment about “German shareholders” was bizarre, given that VW is a public company whose stock is traded globally.
Beside the UAW’s appeal, there are two other good potiential reasons why VW may be holding back from announcing another line.
The first is that by doing so, it will clearly incur the wrath of President Obama. Several years ago, Obama’s Department of Labor went after a new Boeing plant in South Carolina which was going to be non-union, essentially saying that the company built the plant to shut out the Machinists Union, and that in essence the plant’s very existence represented an unfair labor practice. Why wouldn’t VW be concerned about Obama siccing government regulators of every conceivable stripe on the company?
The second reason is that VW’s German union, IG Metall, is also steaming mad about the outcome. It occupies half of the company’s board seats, and nothing meaningful can get done, including building a new line at the Chattanooga plant, without a two-thirds majority of the board. I’ve got a bridge to sell to anyone who believes that IG Metall is more interested at the moment in the well-being of Chattanooga’s workers than it is in making Bob Corker look bad by making his two-week statement not come true.
The fact that AP would assign a reporter to file a report like Schelzig’s, and that it would give it national exposure, shows just how in lockstep with the labor movement the wire service is — even when it’s supposed to be giving the nation an objective account of the news.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.