The unions are revolting

From Robert Stacey Stacy McCain:

German Union Threatens U.S. Jobs
Posted on | February 19, 2014 | 16 Comments

After workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted to reject a United Auto Workers contract, most friends of free labor breathed a sigh of relief, but a deal that gives German workers a seat on the VW board may threaten the Tennessee workers’ jobs:

A Volkswagen board member is threatening to withhold future investments in its Tennessee facility if the workers do not unionize, according to Reuters.

“I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in theUnited 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.

A bit more at the link.

Sister Toldjah has more, noting Ed Kilgore’s statement:

This news falls with the predictable weight of another shoe dropping, but it’s interesting that it’s happening so fast, even as conservatives everywhere are still celebrating the successful intimidation of VW workers in Tennessee by local Republican politicians.

There is plenty of speculation as to why the workers rejected union representation, which could be anything from they saw just how wonderful things are in that union town of Detroit to the possibility that the UAW organizers were just not very good and urinated off a bunch of workers. But the left seem incapable of considering the possibility that a majority of the workers simply did not see United Auto Workers representation as being beneficial to them.

Or maybe it was something like this story from yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer:

10 leaders of Ironworkers Local 401 charged in racketeering indictment
By Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | Last updated: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 1:08 AM | Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 11:48 AM

They called themselves “the Helpful Union Guys” – “THUGS” for short – and woe awaited any contractor who dared cross them by hiring non-organized workers.

For, federal authorities alleged Tuesday, this “goon squad” of members of Ironworkers Local 401 set fires, started riots, and took crowbars to the competition in an effort to protect union jobs.

FBI agents arrested 10 of the union’s leaders Tuesday morning, including longtime head Joseph Dougherty, in a racketeering conspiracy case that appeared to affirm long-standing business complaints over the tactics employed by Philadelphia unions.

Prosecutors alleged that Dougherty and others have cost contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars over at least three years, and were indiscriminate in choosing their targets – equally willing to break skulls with baseball bats at a Toys R Us work site in King of Prussia or torch a Quaker meetinghouse under construction in Chestnut Hill.

More at the link.

Now, it’s not exactly news that there has been union violence to try to protect jobs for union members only; it’s only news that someone might actually go to jail for it. But maybe, just maybe, the civilized workers in Tennessee — Tennessee is reliably Republican, which makes them, by definition, civilized — don’t want to be associated with that kind of stuff.

Or, perhaps, just perhaps, the workers realize what The First Street Journal has been saying all along, that unions in private sector companies have to be partners with their employers, trying to get what they can for their workers while still keeping the company profitable, and were just not confident that the United Auto Workers have had such a good record of doing that, considering the bailouts that General Motors and Chrysler required, and which Ford just barely avoided.

The First Street Journal absolutely supports the right of workers to form unions, but also believes that workers have an absolute right to decline to form a union, and that no worker should be compelled to join a union just to keep his job. The First Street Journal also believes that everyone bears the responsibility for his decisions, and workers who choose to unionize bear the responsibility for the actions of their union, even if that union winds up driving the company out of business. Given the record of private-sector unions in general recently, it’s not too difficult to see why the Volkswagen workers might not see union representation as a wise idea.

9 Comments

  1. One way to make sure unions partner with business is to make retirement benefits entirely dependent on future profits. Only after all expenses, including retained reserves and dividends to shareholders would retirement accounts be funded. That’ll put everyone’s eggs in the same basket.

  2. ropelight wrote:

    One way to make sure unions partner with business is to make retirement benefits entirely dependent on future profits. Only after all expenses, including retained reserves and dividends to shareholders would retirement accounts be funded. That’ll put everyone’s eggs in the same basket.

    In a word: Enron.

    And actually, that’s what we had for a long time, which is why so many workers who thought that they had defined benefit pension plans discovered that their defined benefit was actually zero, once the company went bankrupt. In this area, there are a whole lot of Bethlehem Steel retirees who worked for forty years, thinking that they’d be doing just fine, living on just Social Security.

    The defined contribution retirement, which specifies how much the company will contribute to the employees’ individual retirement programs, is more secure in one way: the current employee knows if the contributions are not being made, and thus is subject to the success or failure of the company only while he is working for it, not based on what might happen in the future. Of course, since the employees (usually) get to specify how they want their accounts invested, some will do better than others.

    I have to admit: I like having my 401(k). I get a decent contribution from the company, as long as my own contributions exceed 5% of my salary — and I contribute 15%, not 5% — but if this company fails, I haven’t lost all of my 401(k).

    Would I like a defined benefit pension, from retirement until I go to my eternal reward? Sure I would, but that is simply no longer a realistic option. Not only are such things dependent upon the continued success of the company, the idea that a corporation would continue to pay a retiree for thirty years after he worked for thirty years winds up mathematically impossible.

  3. I fail to see the value to contemporary unions. Sure, at one time employees were at a severe disadvantage. Sometimes conditions were poor, pay lousy, bosses demeaning, benefits non-existent. But through government agencies like the NLRB, OSHA etc. these things are a non starter today. There are not many things I believe the government has any business in but insuring safe working conditions and job dignity is safe in its realm. And all of these federal agencies to protect the working man are repeated with state agencies in redundancy. But the one thing government should never do because it has no experience at it is dictate wages. There is no way Obama, Pelosi, Waxman, Reid or Perry know how much my employees should be paid. And if they insinuate they do they’re damn liars.

  4. Would I like a defined benefit pension, from retirement until I go to my eternal reward? Sure I would, but that is simply no longer a realistic option.

    I don’t believe it ever was a realistic option Mr. Editor. The only way to insure ones retirement is to do it yourself. Depending on a company, a union or anything else is allowing your Golden Years to be determined by someone else. As a matter of fact, companies and unions etc. should be forbidden by law to offer retirement plans other than supplemental or contribution. And those plans should be owned by the retiree and considered a hereditary asset. IOW, if you contribute $500,000 and your company contributes $25,000 the entire $525,000 is yours and if you die tomorrow it goes to whomever you will it to. Hoagie says: If you like your pension you can keep your pension. Period.

  5. I found Unions overall to be pretty revolting. I vividly remember the three month strikes my father had to endure. The pay raise earned paid for the strike time over its three year length. I worked for a construction company that was a union shop. Had to learn all the rules of all the different unions we dealt with. What a pain in the ass. IF we had three gasoline welding machines, we needed an operating engineer on site to turn them on and off. And refueling? The operator had a laborer to fetch and fill the gas. Feathers.

  6. Defined benefit pensions did work, for a while, and if you retired in 1950 and lived until 1970, you were a winner.

    But they were ticking time bombs of financial liability, weighing down corporations and throwing cities like Detroit into bankruptcy. They could only last for so long.

  7. The consensus among climate change professionals is that labor unions are the primary cause of global warming. Experts agree on the fundamental principles, multiple studies prove it, there is no legitimate opposition, the science is settled: labor unions represent the single most significant threat to the planet ever encountered, with the possible exception of polyester pants suits and the macarena.

  8. A Volkswagen board member is threatening to withhold future investments in its Tennessee facility if the workers do not unionize

    Fine. Then Honda or Toyota can take their place.

  9. From The Washington Free Beacon:

    Ten members of a Philadelphia ironworkers union face charges of arson and racketeering in connection with a fire against the church, which was employing non-union workers.

    “Ironworkers Local 401 [was charged] with allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit criminal acts of extortion, arson, destruction of property, and assault in order to force construction contractors to hire union ironworkers,” the FBI said in a press release. “Specifically, the indictment charges RICO conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, three counts of arson, two counts of use of fire to commit a felony, and conspiracy to commit arson. Eight of the 10 individuals named in the indictment are charged with conspiring to use Ironworkers Local 401 as an enterprise to commit criminal acts.”

    The group of self-described THUGS—an acronym for “Those Helpful Union Guys”—allegedly burned down the meetinghouse as part of a wider campaign of violence against non-union work sites across the city.

    The indictment goes on to describe how the union used non-union point men in an effort to distance the union from allegations of violence. Those individuals served as scouts in order to identify and threaten any construction site that was not utilizing union labor.

    Yep. Let’s bring on those pinko unions. They’re so helpful.

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