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UAW defeat

Posted: February 20, 2014 10:26 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The recent union defeat at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant is yet another sign that the United Auto Workers, once an indomitable force in this country, is merely a shell of its former shelf. Where the American economy is concerned, that’s a good thing. Employees at the Chattanooga plant turned thumbs down on the union despite a protracted lobbying effort by UAW officials; in fact, Volkswagen itself had been in favor of the union and had allowed organizers nearly unlimited access to its plant while denying that same right to opponents.

Still, workers there realized what they had: jobs that pay nearly $30 an hour, including benefits. They also realized that a deal with the union could have been a major factor in where a new SUV plant is built; Tennessee is competing with Mexico for that facility, and a union contract could have worked against the state. UAW leaders over the years helped push both General Motors and Chrysler into bankruptcy, and employees at the Chattanooga plant didn’t want any part of that. Over a few decades, the UAW has lost three-fourths of its members; no other statistic speaks so convincingly of an organization which sacrificed hundreds of thousands of jobs, largely because of its policies. The workers in Tennessee made a wise choice which would have been all but unthinkable in the heyday of the UAW.


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