I'm not saying he is, I'm just Cavutoing the question.
See, down in Real America (tm), the good people at Volkswagen would like to build some cars.
And they would like to build those with the cooperation and support of organized labor.
But maybe just crazy enough to work! (From the Washington Post):
This week at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., 1,570 workers will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. It's a big deal: While the big three American carmakers are all unionized, so far the foreign companies have avoided it by locating in Southern states with strong Right to Work laws. From their perspective, unions usually just mean work stoppages, expensive benefit plans, and the inability to fire people at will.That's what's weird about the VW vote: The German company is campaigning for the UAW, not against it, in a kind of employer-union partnership America has seldom seen. What gives?Well, VW is kind of different, as automakers go. It understands how having a union can boost productivity and allow it greater flexibility in adjusting to downturns. It should know: The rest of its plants are unionized too.
It seems the Germans have this thing called a "works council" wired deep into their law and business culture:
This would also be something new for the United Auto Workers. They wouldn't have the same relationship with VW as they do with Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford. Rather, the idea is to create something called a "works council," which are widespread across Europe and enjoy tremendous influence over how plants are run. In America, that kind of body can't be established without a union vote -- but crucially, the works council would be independent of the union, meaning the UAW would give up some control as soon as it gained it.While the details of the arrangement would be ironed out after the election, works councils -- which are elected by all workers in a factory, both blue and white collar, whether or not they belong to the union -- usually help decide things like staffing schedules and working conditions, while the union bargains on wages and benefits. They have the right to review certain types of information about how the company is doing financially, which often means that they're more sympathetic towards management's desire to make cutbacks when times are tough. During the recession, for example, German works councils helped the company reduce hours across the board rather than laying people off, containing unemployment until the economy recovered.
So if the union is cool with it...and the company is for it...what sort of reactionary, inbred, gas-sipping halfwit could would possible be against it?
Enter Republican Senator Bob Corker, trailing the state's Republican leadership and -- surprise -- another of our nation's apparently infinite supply of amply-funded, anti-labor wingnut front groups:
That doesn't mean, however, that the vote is unopposed. National anti-union groups and the state's Republican leaders are campaigning against the UAW, saying unionization will spread like a contagion through Tennessee's other auto plants. “Then it’s BMW, then it’s Mercedes, then it’s Nissan, hurting the entire Southeast if they get the momentum," said Sen. Bob Corker (R.-Tenn.).
The thing I have not heard mentioned in any of the articles so far is how Germany came to have "work councils" in the first place. They date back to 1920, when "the Betriebsrätegesetz (Works Council Act) was passed, mandating consultative bodies for workers in businesses with over 20 employees. Social and economic interests of workers were to be represented and considered to the management."
Then, in 1933, they were abolished and German unions were broken up because of the fucking Nazis.
In 1946/47 they were reinstated by the "Allied Control Council, through the Kontrollratsgesetz No. 22 [which] allowed works councils as in the Weimar Republic."
So, to sum up...
Those in favor of work councils:
- The UAW
- Most of modern Western Civilization
- Those brave, liberty-loving American heroes who fought to free the world from Nazi tyranny.
Those against work councils:
- Republican Senator Bob Corker.
- The leaders of the Tennessee GOP.
- The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.