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View Diary: UAW loses at VW (224 comments)

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  •  I'm very much a union guy (5+ / 0-)

    and my initial reaction was very much like yours. However, after looking deeper into the situation, I'm not sure that even I would have voted for such a weak union. It looks like UAW wanted to be little more than a company union.

    Volkswagen Workers Vote on Union, Works Council Scheme

    Ironically, the UAW’s organizing tactics at VW call that independence into question, politically if not legally. The union has repeatedly stressed that its goal is a stronger company, with resulting job security. President Bob King says he wants “innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community.”

    He consistently maintains that the union’s combative past is behind it and now says the cooperative “works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.” Those partnerships led the UAW to become an early adopter of the two-tier wage model, at the Big Three in 2007, and to give up pensions for new hires in that contract.

    VW workers reject UAW organizing drive at Tenn. plant
    Before this week's vote, VW and the UAW signed a 20-page agreement, dated Jan. 27, saying that if the majority of workers were to vote for UAW representation, the union would agree to hand over many of the functions that it usually oversees to a new works council.

    "Our works councils are key to our success and productivity," Frank Fischer, CEO of the Chattanooga plant, said in a statement before the vote. "It is a business model that helped to make Volkswagen the second-largest car company in the world. Our plant in Chattanooga has the opportunity to create a uniquely American works council, in which the company would be able to work cooperatively with our employees and ultimately their union representatives, if the employees decide they wish to be represented by a union."

    "Americans have a strong devotion to afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable. They have a hard time contemplating any meaningful overhaul of the rules of their political system" -- Alec Baldwin

    by Sagebrush Bob on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 12:38:17 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      so in fact, like several votes that our congress and senate have tried to pass, there were likely just as many voting for it because it didn't go far enough rather than voting against the principle altogether.

    •  There's some truth there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      From the standpoint of my union, which does not do "partnerships" with management and looks with disdain on those who do, this was really a no-win election: a no vote would be a setback for labor in general, a yes vote would be an advance for ineffective partnership unionism.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 08:43:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure it's so ineffective (0+ / 0-)

        given the huge numbers of workers in continental Europe who benefit from this structure (from ManfromMiddletown's post upthread):

        Country Union % Total Coverage %
        Germany 18 62
        Sweden 70 88
        France 8 98
        Spain 19 70
        Ireland 31 44
        UK 26 29
        I too would be concerned about a "company union" that's a front for management. But given the argument that a lot of unionized workers don't know when to trust the company vs. the union... having a process and venue to understand things better seems like a good idea. And this is popular enough in places we respect for having better labor relations overall than the US.

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