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Volkswagen has an assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN. The workers in this plant are currently in the process of deciding whether or not to unionize and join the UAW--an all-too-infrequent occurrence among transplanted foreign automakers with plants in so-called "right to work" states in the South. Republican Senator Bob Corker, however, made his feelings known on the issue--only to have Volkswagen tell him politely to butt out:
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., says he has told Volkswagen officials that he thinks it would be "highly detrimental" to the German manufacturer if the United Auto Workers organizes its Chattanooga assembly plant.
"At Volkswagen Chattanooga, the employees will decide for themselves about their representation," [Guenther Scherelis, Volkswagen Group of America Inc.'s general manager of communication] said in an e-mail.
Now, the fact that Senator Corker is using his influence to try to prevent union organizing isn't new--but from the point of view of ideological justification, he's a raging hypocrite. This is the same Senator Corker who, when opposing the rescue package for GM, had this to say about the interference of the government in the decisions of private automakers:
"This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies....This is a major power grab." - March 30, 2009.
So, in Corker's worldview--when it comes time to save the American automobile industry, it's the height of arrogance for the government to believe it ought to play a role or exert any influence. But when it comes to preventing unionization, Senator Corker--who, after all, is part of the federal government--does his level best to exert influence over a corporation's private affairs. What's the unifying element here? The UAW, of course. Federal influence is bad if it saves companies that provide good union jobs, but federal influence is good if it prevents other companies from having unionized workforces.
Not that Senator Corker is any stranger to hypocrisy on the issue of auto manufacturers: he recently tried to take credit for the reopening of a GM plant in Tennessee that resulted from the federal bailout--but only after opposing that same bailout as an unbearable federal power grab.
Just another salvo in the ongoing Republican war against the middle class.
Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:00 AM PST.