UAW Vote Reactions: 'Perverse' And 'Good Job, VW Workers'

February 15, 2014, 3:15 PM by  Alan Stamm

Rejection of union representation by a slim majority of the men and women who make Volkswagen vehicles in Chattanooga, Tenn., is a hot topic Saturday online and in media coverage.

The news from down south, though not entirely unexpected, spurs discussions about right to work, regional differences, labor relations and a changing industrial landscape. Some comments burn with impassioned emotions; others address stark realities of American manufacturing in 2014.

"Good job, VW workers. You made the right choice!" comments Ford worker Brian Pennebecker of Shelby Township, a member of  UAW Local 228 in Detroit.

A contrasting view comes from Detroit Newspaper Guild member Lynn Henning, who tweets that the outcome "is so perverse" and "a vote against democracy." 

► Our news coverage is here.

Workers at this Tennessee assembly factory voted 712-626 not to unionize. (UAW photo)

Here's a sampling of reactions to the 712-626 vote, mainly from voices in Michigan. We welcome your comment below or on our Facebook page.  

Not enough value: The VW workers in Tennessee did not see a value in UAW representation. Not commensurate with the dues they would have to donate. Simple as that. -- Bud Prine, Brighton 

"So perverse:" Voting against a voice in a workplace when even VW endorsed it is so perverse. A vote against democracy. -- Lynn Henning of Troy, Detroit News sportswriter 

Pride of the South: The auto industry has been one of the biggest examples of success for the South over the past three decades. . . . The factories have been the South’s proof that its workers also have manufacturing skill, and they don’t need a middleman to speak for them. -- Micheline Maynard of Ann Arbor, blogging Saturday in Forbes

Disgruntled UAW member: Good for the workers in Tennessee! The UAW helped bankrupt GM and Chrysler, and the union has driven over 1 million manufacturing jobs out of the Midwest since 1979. This attempt to "organize" VW was really just a money grab by the UAW bosses. They want to skim the paychecks and funnel the money to liberal Democrats like Obama. . . .  By the way, I am a Ford employee and a "compulsory" UAW member, Local 228 in Detroit. -- Brian Pennebecker, Shelby Township

"Pitifully low wages:" Make no mistake, it's a victory for pitifully low wages. . . . Ask yourself what your life would be life if you were building cars for less than $20 an hour.. Should anyone be cheering that? -- Stephen Henderson of Detroit, Free Press editorial Page editor

"The real issue:" Here is the real issue: If unionization was the right answer, what is wrong with the union leadership that they couldn't pull this off? -- Derrick Glencer, Bloomfield Hills 

UAW kept plant out of Michigan: That VW plant would have been in Michigan if it was not for the UAW being so entrenched here. -- Jay Buckley, Troy technical trainer


Signing yes cards; voting no: The vote is also another strike against "card check" legislation. The UAW said they had signatures of over half the voters -- but in the private voting box, workers went against the union. -- Jarrett Skorup of Midland, research associate at Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Likes his nonunion shop: I am working at a nonunion shop here in Northern MI and I can say without a doubt, it's the best place I have ever worked. Now if some of these teachers' unions could just be voted out. They are much worse than even the UAW! -- Paul Difflipp, Big Rapids mold maker

Union "does not offer much:" People no longer feel that unions can protect them. Why pay for something that does not offer much in return? -- Brendan Nolan, Royal Oak

Hope for change soon: I look forward to the day when I’ll be able to buy a VW with a union label on it. And I hope that day comes soon. -- Scott Martelle, ex-Detroit News writer and author of "Detroit: A Biography" (2012) 

Fear of shutdown: The workers were afraid of losing their jobs. State Officials threatened to revoke the VW plant's tax abatement if the union vote passed. -- Tom Robinson, Perry, Mich.

"Bob King can't organize:" Walter Reuther unionized plants with management goons stomping on his face. Bob King can't organize a workforce with labor-friendly management. King is as useless to his rank-and-file as that barber college haircut is to his head. -- Jeff Wattrick, Deadline Detroit writer, in Facebook comment  

The union posted this video Friday:

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