The Truth About The Anti-Union Movement in Chattanooga
The Packard Plant in Detroit c. 1929
Unions Make A Company More Productive
The Masters of Misinformation are at it again. This time they have shown their anti union anti Obama faces in Chattanooga where the workers are set to vote on whether they would accept union representation in the Volkswagen complex in Tennessee. The Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) has placed over a dozen high visibility billboards in and around the city, denouncing the unions. interestingly, unions are involved in all the other VW plants throughout the world. The last time we checked, Volkswagen was doing just fine.
The message claims that the union's efforts are the cause of the auto industry's problems and Detroit's demise. Their ads claim that “…almost every job lost at U.S. car factories in the last 30 years has occurred at a unionized company.”--One of the billboards shows a photo of the ancient Packard Motor plant in Detroit, a plant that has abandoned 60 years ago when the company closed its doors. It closed not because of union issues, but because the company could not compete with Big Three of the day(all unionized).
This attack on Detroit and the unions that were part of the city's dynamic growth during the heydays of the industry illustrates of the sort of untruthful statements made by right wing tea party republicans who desperately fear the rise of the lower class.
The truth of the matter is that because of the union efforts to bring a living wage to its members, the entire country benefited. Had it not been for their efforts, our country would be mired in minimum wage jobs that would have left our country with little hope for success. We would all be earning Wal-Mart's notoriously low wages. That company has played a huge roll in reducing this country's wage scale. But this is the goal of the millionaire conservatives who are determined to stop union growth.
A for Detroit, the unions created a strong middle class of citizens who owned their own homes, bought the cars they built and turned the city into the most prosperous city of the times. Oakland County just north of Detroit was once the third wealthiest county in the country and remains in the top percentiles today. The same can be said for the area known as Grosse Pointe where the Fords, Chryslers and other magnates of the time settled. Many auto workers have chosen to live in these areas as well.
Detroit's failures can largely be laid on the massive white flight out of the city that reduced the population to 750,000 less than half of its previous high. Detroit did in fact go through a difficult times, but the reality of that phase was not due to the unions. It was the surge of imports that flooded the country aided by permissive tariffs that damaged the domestic makers. Eventually these foreign companies sought refuge in low wage states. Many of those states used scare tactics to prevent unionization. Because those workers did not have a union to protect them, they were forced to accept whatever the company's offered.
As for the unions in Detroit, they work hand in hand with management and have played a major role in the reestablishment of Detroit as the leader in the Automotive industry.
You need only to dig a bit deeper to see who is behind this negative campaign. You guessed it. It's the the power brokers, millionaires and ultra conservatives who would derive the most benefit from non union shops. Every dollar they save in wages can flow directly into their already bulging pockets.