Thursday, February 13, 2014

At Long Last Senator, Have You No Dictionary?

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Bob Corker really, really doesn't like unions, and he's been on quite a tear lately to tell everyone who will listen just how much he wishes they would stop all the complaining about workers' rights and fair pay and just go away. I was probably as surprised as anyone to learn this morning that Senator Bob Corker claimed to have a secret plan to end the Vietnam War inside information about Volkswagen's plans for its Chattanooga plant, but that did not prepare me for the nearly electric shock I experienced when I read that he'd said this:
Our concern is not with the works council and never has been, and Volkswagen knows that very well. U.S. labor relations and German relations are very different. There's some question as to how a works council can be set up in the U.S., and there are various opinions on both sides of the spectrum, one says you have to have a union, one says you don't. But we in no way have been negative relative to the works council. It's really been the fact that the UAW would be the implementing entity. We've even told Volkswagen that, 'why don't you guys create your own union within the plant, if you feel like that is something that is necessary to fully implement this in a way you see fit.' I will say that BMW has implemented its works council without the UAW.
I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that this statement alone demonstrates that Bob Corker has no idea how a union works, what unions are for, or why someone would want to join one.

First of all, company unions were outlawed in the United States in 1935. You might expect a U.S. senator to know that already, but in Corker's case you would be wrong. Volkswagen might also expect a U.S. lawmaker who is presuming to tell them how to do business in Tennessee would be conversant in the relevant laws and statutes, and they would also be wrong.

Secondly, BMW has done no such thing, for the reason outlined above: it would be illegal. Let me reiterate that Senator Corker told a reporter that a company operating in the United States was conducting its business in violation of the law. When asked about this, Corker responded:
It's not illegal. As a matter of fact, I don't want to debate this, because this is a debate for lawyers, but I believe that it's easier to create a German-style works council without a union.
Gee, if only the senator had someone handy who understood the law.

Most alarming, however, is the senator's apparent belief that Volkswagen can simply form their own union and put all the Chattanooga factory workers in it, as if that neatly settles the matter. It just so happens that Senator Corker is not the only person with inside information, and a source within his office has revealed to me that next on his legislative agenda are plans to put children in charge of schools, give lunatics the keys to the asylum, and beef up hen house security by hiring unemployed foxes.

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