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Worker and car in German Volkswagen factory.
Too late to influence the outcome of the recent election in which Tennessee Volkswagen workers narrowly rejected unionizing, the head of Volkswagen's works council issued basically the reverse of Sen. Bob Corker's claims about the election's jobs outcome. Where Corker claimed that if workers voted against the union, VW would add jobs in Tennessee, labor representative Bernd Osterloh suggested that the anti-union environment might tip the scales away from adding production in Tennessee:
"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council.

"If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW's supervisory board, said.

And unlike in the United States, where the statement "we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" makes executives guffaw into their glasses of scotch, in Germany, it has real teeth. Interestingly, Osterloh said something similar in October, as momentum grew toward a union vote. Yet opposite claims from Corker were aired much more widely in the days before and during the vote, despite Corker not actually having a say in Volkswagen's production decisions.

Worth noting: The mayor of Lansing, Michigan, has invited Volkswagen to consider locating a plant there.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I feel so bad for those workers who caved to (21+ / 0-)

    Corker's threats. It's a damn shame we don't have someone better than Clayton to challenge him, I hope the Dems find someone quickly and drum home the fact that anti-unionism probably lost them jobs instead of bringing them. This is an opportunity for the Democratic party to teach people in the south that: 1) workers need unions, 2) the Republicans do not have their interests at heart. It will be a shame if we ignore it.

    "Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change." Muhammad Ali

    by blueoregon on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:26:17 AM PST

    •  I don't feel bad for them at all. (5+ / 0-)

      Southern White Conservatives are traditionally cowards and stupid.
      They were able to combine them those two characteristics in this one vote.

      Cowardice and Stupidity.

      You saw it when they ran around in the night with pillow cases over their heads terrorizing non-white people.
      You see it when they wave around the flag of slavery - the confederate flag.
      You see it when these cowards hid behind their guns.
      You saw in in the Jim Crow laws where they couldn't be even real Americans and vote in a fair election.

      And now we get to see it when the frightened idiots screw themselves over with that moronic VW vote.

      The ones that were both brave and smart - they voted in favor of the union. Those are real American qualities. Those are the people I care about.

      The boot-licking cowards that voted against the union - I'm ashamed they can still call themselves Americans. Because they sure didn't act like Americans.

      •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Capt Crunch

        no reason to feel bad for the fools "who caved" ... they deserve any negative consequences that result ... the political and social views, including hostility to unions, of most (though not all) Southern whites have been a drag on this country generation after generation

      •  Maybe Southern White Conservatives (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Charles Hall

        are a little leery of manicured liberals who go around laughing at country ways and making jokes about trailer parks and bible studies and think that intelligence is measured by books and written words.  You have a lot of nerve to make fun of these people and then turn around and blame them for not thinking the way you do!  If you had a tiny bit of peripheral vision you would be able to see past your own pathetic prejudices and annoyances with other people's customs and see a way to communicate with (not talk at) them.  

        By the way, how do you know it was those "white conservative" workers who turned down the union?  Or is that just the knee-jerk conclusion of your prejudiced mind?

        Eighteen claws, three-and-a-half fangs, and a puma's purr.

        by FranklinCat on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 08:58:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Spare me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          profundo, Capt Crunch

          the BS about "country ways" and Southern white "customs" ... these euphemisms don't alter the reality that, as a group, Southern whites remain the most racist, reactionary segment of American society

        •  What a load. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HardTimes, eviemarie

          I'm not laughing at country ways.
          Cowardice and Stupidity are not country ways.
          And I've lived in a trailer park - have you?

          think that intelligence is measured by books and written words.
          Hey - ya know how I can tell they're stupid? Look at their states. They're a mess. Look at Georgia losing hospitals because they won't expand Medicaid. Look at Texas - land of exploding fertilizer factories. The list goes on and on.

          Now look at the stupidity of voting against your own self interest in the VW vote. That's not just stupid - that's cowardly AND stupid.

          Those folks deserve to be sneered at.

          •  Blame the little guy (0+ / 0-)

            for the power structure they live under.  That's sure a lot easier than trying to figure out why your disdain doesn't succeed in changing how they vote or even why they may not vote at all.

            Eighteen claws, three-and-a-half fangs, and a puma's purr.

            by FranklinCat on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 10:22:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  More crap (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              1. The Southern Conservative Whites keep voting in assholes so, yeah, I blame them for the mess they've made.

              2. I don't want to change their vote. I want those around them  to get out and vote so these Southern Conservative White morons won't matter anymore.

              The Southern Conservative Whites have had over one hundred years to change. Their time is over.

              •  My, my! What a team player! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Charles Hall

                So your view of politics is all about "my team vs. their team" instead of actually talking about policies.  The latter of course would actually require talking to those you see as the "enemy", maybe even showing them some respect.  Meanwhile the real enemy, Corker and Fat Cat CEO's, are laughing all the way to the bank because you've made it so easy for the Kochsuckers to convince certain members of the working class that they should be pawns in their game.   Not only have the Fat Cats got some Southern white workers convinced that they are their friends, but they have YOU convinced that Southern white workers are YOUR enemy.  And the more you take that bait and react with broadly brushed caricatures of Southern whites, the more you harden their stereotypes of liberals and leftists.  Those guys have shown a potential for loyalty; it would be nice if a number of them could be convinced that their loyalty is misplaced.  Nixon earned their loyalty by spreading fear, perhaps some sustained effort at humbly delivering some truth would win them back.

                Eighteen claws, three-and-a-half fangs, and a puma's purr.

                by FranklinCat on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 04:47:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The bull shit never ends (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HardTimes, eviemarie

                  Oh yeah - let's be nice to those southern white conservatives and maybe they'll stop voting for weasels like Corker and wise up to the CEOs that are busy sucking their blood.

                  How about YOU wise up and realize it hasn't happened in over 150 years?

                  My recognition of that is "taking the bait"?

                  It's your Pollyanna view of the world that has had the Democrats wasting time and effort on these mindless toads for decades.

                  Their daddies, grand daddies, great granddaddies and great great granddaddies all had plenty of chances to stop being cowardly jerk offs and they all passed.

                  Now, we don't need them anymore. We need the voters around them to stand up and vote.

                  These buffoons can shove off. If you want to coddle these moronic cowards in hopes they'll change what their kind has been doing for 150 years - have fun. I don't consider them to be real Americans. If they want to wave the confederate flag - fine. Then they can grow a spine and get out of MY country.

  •  Yeah baby! Detroit could use the jobs! (19+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 11:39:19 AM PST

    •  Exactly what I was thinking. (0+ / 0-)

      You can't take the sky from me!

      by wrights on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have mothballed auto-assembly plants in CA too! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Capt Crunch

      And engineers, a highly skilled workforce, with actual decent public educations, and a totally ALEC-free state government. Okay, Detroit probably has better BBQ, but I will make VW an offer; put an assembly plant in CA and I will open a decent BBQ restaurant within lunch-time distance. And we will deliver.

      If VW opens a UAW-friendly facility in Detroit, I will try to get a "Wong's Taco Palace" franchise for you. Old family recipes, admittedly, not Mr. Wong's family, but pretty good.

      "It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe." - Archie Bunker

      by Banach MacAmbrais on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:43:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The part of NM could sure use another big (7+ / 0-)

    employer. C'mon down!

    •  The Opening Farewell? (8+ / 0-)

      Are folks in TN posting this link/story in-state and in Chattanooga?

      Like here?

      The Germans are not enamored with US industry/labor tension, and might relocate to friendlier confines someday in light of this vote and the interference by Sen. Corker and TN state politicians.

      I mean, if these "tax breaks" are so tenuous, and are subject to political whims as was shown so clearly by all the threats from TN lawmakers, why bother to invest further.

      I also don't think that Corker's disparaging remarks directed at the Chattanooga VW plant CEO when he denied that adding another VW model to the Chattanooga plan's production would not be based on the union vote, are going to sit well over time.

      You meet them halfway with love, peace, and persuasion ~ And expect them to rise for the occasion...

      by paz3 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:26:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can't sign Kos petition. I live in Tennessee (9+ / 0-)

    Just got an email from Daily Kos asking me to sign a petition urging VW to move from Tennessee to labor friendly states.   I run Tennessee Alliance for Progress and work closely with UAW members.  I do not want to see much-needed jobs at VW leave Tennessee.  Let's see if the MSM picks up on this story and what impact it has on the workers at VW.  Maybe this will turn the tide against Corker and our governor and workers will begin to realize that these politicians are not in their corner and that they just got screwed on two fronts: more jobs and workplace democracy.  

  •  Michael Moore should invite them to (5+ / 0-)

    come to Flint.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:11:53 PM PST

  •  Can I just ask a Question? (6+ / 0-)

    IF Volkswagen is indeed pro union-- then WHY did they locate in the south in the first place? how many millions in tax incentives/breaks were they given to build their factory in TN?

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:12:25 PM PST

  •  You sort of have to wonder (6+ / 0-)

    why the Works Council went along with VW opening a plant in the South to begin with.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:17:33 PM PST

  •  It's like an orgy here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Banach MacAmbrais

    Everyone is screwing everyone. The workers screwed themselves but someone always ends up by themselves in these things....Or so I've heard...

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:34:37 PM PST

    •'s nothing like an orgy here. Orgies are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      friendly gatherings, "screwing" is not a derogatory term at an orgy. "Screwing" is a word that in an orgy, has a specific meaning; P-V vanilla.  

      Back in the day the word was "party" as in "Did you and Shannon party the other night? She was asking about you before..." "Party" means/meant connecting/re-connecting with someone, sometimes people have used the term to me without any sexual overtones. Because the definition of what "sex" is has never, and will probably never be settled in English. Or any other human languages which I am familiar.

      I only intrude because you said, " .Or so I've heard..." So now you've heard something new.

      "It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe." - Archie Bunker

      by Banach MacAmbrais on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:56:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Corker wins! (0+ / 0-)

    Objective: screw up anything that looks good for American workers.

    Methods: use what you got, bully pulpit.

    Result: American workers lose. Now, he can blame it on Obama.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:36:09 PM PST

  •  i hope vw (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Capt Crunch, JeffW, KingBolete, cks175

    coming from a nation that respects the labor movement will consider building plants in states that have a similar view about their workers and their rights, that would be ironic and payback to the gop thugs in tenn and elsewhere.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  VW values experience (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vzfk3s, JeffW, BachFan, JrCrone

    Volkswagen like many European companies believe that once someone is trained and settled in their job they are an asset not a liability (expense) which provides their company a higher return on investment. When it comes to money they look at any expense long term. Unlike the churn and earn view held by republicans.

  •  As it should be. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, KingBolete, BachFan

    VW did just about all it could to let the workers know it wanted them to unionize so they could set up a works council short of coming right out and saying it.

    So as so many of them were naive enough to listen to Corker and the other rabid, goonish anti-unionistas, it would be poetic justice to see VW send the expansion somewhere else.

    I think Corker and the rest of the TN anti-unionistas are already spinning things for that possibility by stating that AG Metall is "strongarming" VW to go elsewhere.  The sheeple will believe that.  Anyone else who understand how VW actually runs realize that it is, in fact, a joint decision between VW and the union via the works council, so no strongarming is needed on the part of AG Metall.

    The anti-unionistas simply don't understand that it's possible for management and unions to work together as a team without being adversarial, and as such, will never understand VW - or any other German company run via co-determination.  Such cooperation is unfathomable to your average rightwingnut and considered heresy under their dogmatic ideology.

    "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

    by Darth Stateworker on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:51:39 PM PST

  •  It is a free country (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unless you piss off the 1% and their minions. Then you get threats when you want to exercise your freedom to say, start a union.

    I hope that this is illegal, but it probably isn't. Thank God I do not live in the south with their regressive policies. Nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. I have relatives who live in West Virginia and were affected by the chemical spill there. All because they don't want to have regulations on businesses. Hopefully they are learning their lesson.

    I find it impressive though that Volkswagen is on the workers side which is often rare in business. Here is a model that benefits everyone. But the rich in this country must find it very threatening to their power structure. That is the bottom line.

  •  ASDF (0+ / 0-)
    And unlike in the United States, where the statement "we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" makes executives guffaw into their glasses of scotch, in Germany, it has real teeth.
    I'm from Missouri on that; IOW, show me.

    Until then, I remain pessimistic.

  •  I Believe That VW Should Leave The South (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:21:38 PM PST

  •  I've owned some 4 NW's in my life (0+ / 0-)

    I just had a nice "chat" with a VW online rep telling him/her that I would consider VW once again due to their position on supporting unionization.

    I was thanked for my input .....

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. Frank Zappa

    by Da Rock on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:18:12 PM PST

  •  Idiots one and all (0+ / 0-)

    They deserve what they asked for.  They believe morons like Corker they can follow him over the cliff. When he says jump they ask how high?  Follow the fools and you too become one.
    I really hope VW doesn't open another plant in the South.  They do not like foreigners,black Americans,continue to worship the Confederate Flag,listen to their preachers and Politicians and do not have enough gumption to stand up for themselves.  They disrespect the Pres. By calling him a Nazi,Marxist,tyrant,and a mixed race mongrel.  They couldn't even negotiate a contract without approval of the GOP,tea Baggers,and Libertarians.  They feel the rest of us are as worthless as they are.  VW help normal Americans and get out of this Dead Zone.  All of America is not as irresponsible and so dependent on politicians to do our thinking.  Go Unions!  We would be so much better off with them than these politicians who are bought by billionaires and not at all for the people.

  •  How DARE Those Germans Dictate to American Workers (0+ / 0-)

    that they have to have union representation! The nerve!

    Who gave them a say in the matter, anyway? [Roosevelt]


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