Thursday, February 13, 2014

Volkswagen threatened by Republicans. Boeing screws its' Employees. Conservatives hate Unions and Freedom.

Three years ago, I wrote about Boeing turning to the Republican Party to aid them in their quest to destroy their Union.
Chicago* based Boeing, in retaliation against their Union Workers, has decided to move a 787 plant to South Carolina, a so-called Right-to-Work State. This is because South Carolina outlaws Unions. Can't have workers gettin' all Uppity and shit! 
S. Carolina also has Nikki Haley, a Teabagging Governor. Haley had this to say, when the National Labor Relations Board took up the Union complaint to stop this move, "If this is checks and balances, God help our country."
Ever since Ronnie Raygun, the Right-Wing Hero of a Thousand Myths, obliterated PATCO he signaled to Businesses across the Nation that it was Open Season on Unions and they can rely on the Awesome Power of the Government to back them up as they grind the Working Class into dust.

Well, a new struggle in Tennessee is illustrating once again the Republican Plan to obliterate Unions and ensure Americans are reduced to Wage Slavery.

"The members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee." Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson said at a news conference. He added that a pro-U.A.W. vote would make it “exponentially more challenging” for the legislature to approve future subsidies. 'That's an awfully nice plant yous got there... Be a shame if somethin' were to happen to it...'

Now we also have an admission by Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker that he's gotten special assurances the Union vote will be defeated. Corker didn't further explain if this would be accomplished by importing Pinkerton's to crack Worker's skulls or if Republicans would just make voting illegal.

"I’ve had conversations today and based on those I am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Senator Corker said, without saying with whom he had the conversations. 

Well, previously Corker has boasted about his deep involvement in VW's hierarchy, "I know [VW Chairman Martin] Winterkorn really really well. We're in constant contact with Volkswagen at every level. Seriously, I don't know a public official that's been more involved with Volkswagen."

Governor Bill Haslam added his concerns about being able to attract other business to Tennessee without the prospect of wage slave labor, "I think that there are some ramifications to the vote in terms of our ability to attract other suppliers..."

Senator Corker, Governor Haslam and other Tennessee Republicans have held multiple special press conferences given several interviews to make their hatred of Unions and the UAW known while reiterating threats to harm Volkswagen and the people of Tennessee whom they ostensibly represent.

In truth, Republicans represent Corporations and are the enemy of Working Class Americans.

The situation is so dire that Grover Norquist, Staunch enemy of Working Class People everywhere, descended upon Chattanooga with his army of plutocrat worshipping acolytes to rent 12 billboards to tell the people of Tennessee that if the UAW unionizes the VW plant, ALEC will work to destroy their State just like they've done in Michigan, Indiana and elsewhere.

Conservatives love this because conservatives ardently believe the Awesome Unique Power of Government should be used to help Corporations exert total dominance and control over Americans. Conservatives hate when the Power of Government is used to help people, especially the poor, women, or minorities.

But, conservatives also hate when regular Americans organize and fight for rights on their own as the Union organization in Tennessee illustrates.

"We are in a battle with Mexico on where this new product goes," said Mike Burton of Southern Momentum, an anti-UAW group, "and it stands to reason that the union will add costs. We need to keep costs down to fight for that new product."
See, anything which helps the Working Man is anathema to Conservatives, who love Wage Slavery and want to shackle Americans with the chains of Corporate Bondage.

Mike Burton's "Keep costs down" equals lowering the wages of Americans and destroying the American Dream.

As such, once Business knew they could rely on the wholly owned Republican Party and Pro-Business Democrats, the American Dream has been brought to the brink of extinction. Over the last 35 years of Neo-Liberal Ultra-Reactionary Republican leadership the Middle Class has been ground into dust and the Working Class has been driven into near penury.

Briefly back to Boeing, who succeeded in dividing the Machinist's Union this year. Boeing threatened its' employees that without an end to a defined pension benefit they would move operations out of the area as they had previously done in 2011 with the threat to move to South Carolina. Well, the Machinists caved to the pressure from Boeing, Washington State Politicians and the Media and despite having a contract through 2016 agreed to end defined pensions, which will be frozen in 2016 and allow all new hires to be shafted under 401(k) non-retirement plans.

The vast majority of Boeing contracts come from the US Government. They also routinely receive special tax-payer funded welfare from Washington State, Kansas, Illinois and DC. Last November, Olympia agreed to let Boeing flout paying their fair share of taxes for 30 years, Boeing was given a package of $8.7 Billion in taxpayer assistance.

Boeing is a Corporation which would collapse without Government contracts and tax assistance. Boeing also engages in routine criminal overcharging of the Government (acts which would be called stealing if you, I or former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell did it) for all the contracts they sign, while flagrantly reneging on their side of the bargains with workers whenever they feel like it.

One of the goals of the Republican Party and Pro-Business Democrats is to make the Working Class understand that they have no friend in Government. They represent Corporations.

All across America we've seen defeat after defeat of Unions as Republicans advance the cause of the Plutocracy and and with it the Rise of a Billionaire Class, a group of 400 people which controls more wealth than over 150 million Americans. As Unions retreat so does the Middle Class and the American Dream.

Already we've seen Generation X and the Millenials, the children and grandchildren of the Baby Boomers, deal with a lower standard of living than their parents, soon their children and grandchildren will wake up and see Republicans and Conservatives have sold them into Corporate Bondage and they've lost the Freedoms past generations fought and died to win.


Jerry Critter said...

We have seen the demise of unions over the last 50 or so years. Are the majority of us better off because of it? No, well, maybe 1% of us are, but 1% should not be making the rules

ChickenHammer said...

I'm no where near being in the 1% and I've got no use for unions. Lamp lighters and elevator operators served a useful purpose but are no longer needed; the same is true for unions.

I don't need to join an organization to negotiate work hours or my salary and benefits. I'm fine with taking care of that myself.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Ever since Ronnie Raygun, the Right-Wing Hero of a Thousand Myths, obliterated PATCO he signaled to Businesses across the Nation that it was Open Season on Unions and they can rely on the Awesome Power of the Government to back them up as they grind the Working Class into dust.

I remember that day.

I found the news even more depressing than the news, years later, that Democratic President Clinton had announced to the world that the era of Big Government was over.

And I say that even though the news of Clinton concerned his profound betrayal of the mission of the Democratic Party and its commitment to progressivism.

The news of what Reagan had done, of the shocking applause of so much of the public, and of the complete inability of anyone to defend the air traffic controllers was a shot across the bow, letting all of us know the conservative revolution in the GOP was a done deal and the conservatives would take every possible step to destroy everything built by progressives since the tail end of the 19th Century.

And that is what the Republican Party has been about, from that day to this.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Btw, bear in mind what the struggle over "Big Government" is about.

Government is said by conservatives to be "big" when it uses its massive, coercive power to protect the interests of consumers, workers, and other ordinary people in the marketplace by, for example, setting minimal rates of pay, requiring overtime for hours after 40, insisting on workplace safety, enforcing laws concerning product safety, etc.

It is said to be "small" when it uses its massive, coercive power to guarantee employers the power to control the economy, for example, setting minimal rates of pay, paying straight time for all hours worked, ignoring workplace and product safety, etc., entirely in their own interests.

I know which is best for the vast majority of Americans.

Shame so many Americans don't get it.

Dervish Sanders said...

"We are in a battle with Mexico on where this new product goes... it stands to reason that the union will add costs. We need to keep costs down to fight for that new product".

Or we could impose tariffs on imported goods. Other countries have lower standards of living and lower living expenses, and the ONLY way to preserve what we have here is via tariffs. Those who oppose tariffs are by default in favor of lowering our standard of living, which surely is grinding the working class into dust (as our cost of living is higher and doesn't go do just because workers are being paid less). Free trader advocates are so stupid in this respect.

the yellow fringe said...

That Boeing plant in Carolina, it's shipping unfinished and defective 787 sections to Seattle, bogging down the line, causing planes that appear to be finished to be set aside for thousands of hours of rework. Their low wage boys are delaying deliveries. One recent fuselage section arrived with over a thousand incomplete or "red tagged" items in it.

Grung_e_Gene said...

yellow fringe,

Is the Cali plant related to the grounding of the entire 787 fleet for defective batteries and which continue to be grounded with other problems this year?

Philo Vaihinger said...

@ Dervish. Agreed on tariffs.

Free trade is a way to make the American rich richer by giving American jobs to people in China.

Tariffs and outright bans on relevant imports protect the American market for American workers.

The usual argument that free trade makes our workers richer is baloney.

Prices don't fall enough, fast enough, to cancel the damage to wages caused by the export of higher paying jobs.

the yellow fringe said...

GeG, no on the batteries. Those come from a Japanese supplier, common name but I don't recall it.
A complicating issue on the battery, these batteries are not uncommon, but they ask for it to be made in an unusual shape to fit into a specific space. In aircraft this is normal to make things just the right shape and weight. Some reports say the custom design of the battery could be part of the battery heating issue.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Actually, while government contracts saved Boeing's bacon some years back, most of their money nowadays is really the civilian airline sales. They still compete for government contracts, but barely break even in the long run. This is because the government takes upon itself to keep changing the contract later, or backing out of parts of it. They ask a price, for instance, for 36 bombers/fighters/wtf-evers and are quoted one. They award the program (or as with the Joint Strike Fighter, do not)… then a few years in, they cut the number to say 24 or even 12 of said aircraft. This means the price is actually HIGHER because the same set up is required but with fewer 'pieces' to average costs out upon.

That said, Boeing screwed the state of Washington ---its home, by getting guaranteed tax breaks to stay here to produce the same plane that Boeing screwed the union on. I have been telling my Boeing employed husband for the last 15 years that Boeing will abandon her home state and leave NOTHING but wrecked state coffers in her wake. He finally believes me and is retiring this year.

They are getting ready to move some of the few remaining military ongoing contracts (mostly with our foreign allies) to Oklahoma. Yes, the working class is being ground to dust. Maybe those Boeing engineers can devise modern titanium bladed guillotines?

And yes, the batteries catching fire on the Dreamliner were not made in house. Once Boeing married up in that disaster of a merger with McDonnel-Douglas, they stopped doing everything in-house (which was once their strength) and things began going to hell in an MD handbasket right about then and there.

Grung_e_Gene said...

@ yellow fringe and S/L,

Thanks for the info on Boeing re: batteries. I recall their kabuki dance with Kansas a few years ago,

On January 4 2012, Boeing announced it was moving Air Force tanker work out of Kansas to other U.S. plants and closing its Wichita operation next year.

In 2008, Boeing asked Kansas officials to help win a $35 billion contract for 18 Air Force tankers. Wichita's Mayor Carl Brewer says Kansas had a long history of coming through for Boeing. Boeing received 650 tax breaks over the last 30 years and $3.5 billion dollars in bonds from Kansas.

As you write S/L, left Kansas with "NOTHING but wrecked state coffers".

Andrew Acista said...

The UAW lost big in Tennessee VW unionization vote. The workers get to keep their earnings.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Workers get earning less which is exactly what Republicans and their Moneyed Masters wish, the Right-to-Work-for-Less.

Dervish Sanders said...

DS: ...our cost of living is higher and doesn't go do just because workers are being paid less...

I meant to say "doesn't go down". Typo.

GEG: ...earning less... is exactly what Republicans and their Moneyed Masters wish, the Right-to-Work-for-Less.

Indeed. A 2/19/2014 Salon article says both management and the UAW were planning to try out a German-style "works council".

German auto workers make twice as much as US auto workers and build twice as many cars. Obviously they are doing something right. Emulating the German model wouldn't have been a bad idea.

The workers bought the RW spin (with TN Senator Corker leading the charge) and voted against their own interests.