Saturday, December 05, 2015

This Little Light ...

... from the candle of organized labor.

Employees at a Volkswagen plant in the state of Tennessee decided to organize for the first time since foreign automakers set up shop in the business-friendly South, which is known for its low rate of unionization.

The United Auto Workers won a breakthrough representation election Friday at the Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga. ... The National Labor Relations Board, which supervised the process, said 71 percent of employees voted to join during the two-day election, which began Thursday. ...

Because of its non-union status, the Chattanooga plant is the only Volkswagen plant in the world without representation on the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council. ...

The UAW has been knocked on its backside at the Chattanooga factory before. Almost three years ago, the UAW lost a close vote at the same plant. (It's happened to TAG at cartoon studios, so we feel for them).

There are 1450 manufacturing jobs at the Tennessee plant, and the UAW has now organized 11% of them. Now comes the hard part: after the legal challenges from Volkswagen are overcome, the union needs to build a culture with the skilled craftsman inside the plant. In a right-to-work state, this is totally necessary, but it's also a fine idea in its own right. Hold meetings, throw parties, and generally make the union as transparent and accessible as possible.

Corporations in the United States, circa 2015, have never been more powerful, so the UAW has a challenging hill to climb. We wish them good luck.


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