[Marxism] UAW's failure to sway VW workers clouds future

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sun Feb 16 11:58:42 MST 2014

Yes, polls show a generally negative attitude toward unions in the 
southern states, and we still know too little about what is called 
"false consciousness", other than that management has years of accrual 
of sophistication in channeling workers' confusion, fear and apathy 
through threats, manipulation of information, control of legislative and 
agency regulation of labor issues, promotion of paralyzing indebtedness 
through home ownership, credit cards and the like, and so forth.

The observation below, at the end of this Guardian article, may possibly 
have as much as or more to do with rejection of union representation in 
the VW plant than anything, showing here as in every dispute where 
investment and plant location are mobile that management holds the upper 
hand in being able to threaten to relocate, while the workers have no 
international solidarity in response; nor are workers prepared yet to go 
on the essential offensive toward an alternative system, secure in the 
knowledge that worker unity extends across regional and national 
boundaries. Not yet. Until then, workers are tossed around by capital's 
decisions in pursuit of profit in competitive contention for market 
share, workers who have mortgages on their homes, other indebtedness and 
families, fearful lest capital chooses to relocate if labor chooses to 
get organized - and for whom unions have generally been able to do 
little that is helpful. Case in point recently, Boeing.


VW workers in Tennessee vote against having union representation


For VW, the stakes also were high. The German car-maker invested $US1bn 
($900m) in the Chattanooga plant, which began building Passat mid-size 
sedans in April 2011, after being awarded more than $US577 million in 
state and local incentives.

VW executives said a seven-passenger crossover vehicle, due in 2016 and 
known internally as CrossBlue, could be built at either the Chattanooga 
plant or in Mexico.

An announcement on where the vehicle would be made could come as early 
as next week, VW sources said.

Marv Gandall wrote:

The Chattanooga plant vote is a grim illustration of the old labour 
movement maxim: "The workers don't need a union to go backwards; they 
can do that by themselves" - the typical outcome in conditions of labour 
surplus rather than labour shortage. But the VW setback was 
extraordinary in that, even with the open support of management, the 
union was unable to overcome the fear of job loss gripping the working 
class in the developed capitalist economies - MG

UAW's failure to sway VW workers clouds future
By Robert Wright in New York
Financial Times
February 16 2014


The question for Mr King and the UAW is whether, after workers at the 
Chattanooga plantvoted 53 to 47 per cent against union representation, 
the union's role is fated to dwindle.

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