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decline of the unions
The UAW Abandons Tennessee

The United Auto Workers union appears to be losing its zeal for unionizing the south. In February, workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant voted against unionization, another sign suggesting that private sector unions generally aren’t as attractive to workers as they used to be. The UAW responded by appealing to the National Labor Relations Board for a new vote. But only an hour before the NLRB hearing, the union decided to withdraw its appeal, as Reuters reports:

VW workers due to testify at the hearing were already at the courthouse in downtown Chattanooga when they heard the news, which left lawyers in the hearing room wondering how to proceed.

The union did not explain why it waited until the 11th hour to drop the case, but UAW official Gary Casteel said the decision not to go ahead was made last week.

Now the original vote has been certified by the NLRB, and it’s unclear what drove the UAW’s decision, or what it will do next. Some labor leaders say it will allow the union to focus on other states and plants, and insist that the UAW hasn’t given up on the south. But the decision to pull out of a hearing after workers voted against unionization may seriously weaken the UAW’s perceived clout, and in turn compromise its other efforts. The reversal is so dramatic, in fact, that it raises questions about whether UAW leaders are sounding a wider retreat.

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  • Corlyss

    “Now the original vote has been certified by the NLRB, and it’s unclear what drove the UAW’s decision, or what it will do next.”

    There’s a principle in advocacy law that says when the courts are going against you, don’t ask them questions you can’t stand to have answered, and pray that your opponent don’t ask ’em either. The jockeying on affirmative action cases has been enough to make a lawyer blush. As long as the union don’t ask, they can protect what gains they have made wherever they’ve made them. If they ask, they may lose those as well.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Precisely so. Going to court (and being laughed out of it) on a very thin legal pretext would compound their defeat, and embolden future opponents to employ the same tactics. At least this way, the UAW can pretend to save face, and leave some ambiguity about their hopes (or lack thereof) for the future.

    • Andrew Allison

      Can a lawyer be embarrassed?

      • Corlyss

        Yes. Even worse than embarrassed, they can be sanctioned, and courts are looking increasingly at doing that to lawyers who bring frivolous lawsuits. The only thing that stopped the embarrassing string of suits about Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be president was the serial threats of sanctions on the attorneys in the next case. But the lawyers in AA cases won’t be sanctioned because the law is not yet settled.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    For there to be a free and fair labor market, the Labor Gang Monopolies need to be broken up. Our economy would greatly benefit from this, as the breakup of AT&T lead to the powerful cell phones of today, and the deregulation of the airlines lead to decades of cheap flights. Exposing labor to the “Feedback of Competition”, would lead to much greater Quality, Service, and Price. Just being able to fire the lazy, corrupt, and incompetent would vastly improve productivity making the whole country wealthier.

    • inthisdimension

      Yeah, but what would Democrats do for money?

  • inthisdimension

    if LABOR is backing-down from unionization, maybe it’s time for every non-RTW state to go all-in on RTW, and for Congress to push national RTW… NOW.

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