That's a nice VW plant you have there. Would be a shame if something happened to it.

I worked for a company that had in-house representation. No union was required. I don’t see why anyone would pay the UAW for something that should cost them nothing. I’m more confused at the whole situation.

Maybe because workers feel a union has some critical distance compared to advocates who are paid by the boss,

I don’t know what VW does overseas but the company I worked for had a committee of employees who acted as representatives. The committee members were voted in. It was better than a union because the employees didn’t automatically side with slackers because they caused the people around them more work. Every year they would survey the employees and have them rate their supervisors and it didn’t fare well for management if they got a low rating.

I’m still pretty hacked off at the automotive unions in my area. We use to have a huge GM presence and they’re all gone. these were massive facilities employing a lot of people. If you talked to the workers themselves they had to put up with shoddy output because the unions stood behind bad employees. I don’t think it was always that way but that’s how it ended up.

I don’t want to get into a union bashing thread. There’s a place for them to be sure although a well run business shouldn’t need them.

I’m not a big fan of organized labor but the European model actually makes a lot of sense while the American model never has. The American model is designed basically by the Democratic power to be a mechanism for fortifying the political strength of the big unions that back the Democratic party. This is why union leadership and unions in general are basically unaccountable in the United States.

In most of Europe a bad union can be voted out and replaced, and workers at a given factory or something can be members of different unions. There aren’t all these laws like we have here that guarantee monopoly status for a given union in a given location, and because of that in Europe workers have genuine choice about which union or trade association they are a member of, it is not based on which one has been able to infect a certain location.

The works councils in some European countries and having labor representation as part of the board structure is also a pretty good thing as it makes the workers a part (although a minority part) of the decision making structure of the company and seems to foster more of an environment where labor understands first and foremost a business has to be profitable and that labor and management need to be in some form of partnership for that to happen. Without profitability all the other issues are kind of irrelevant because the business will ultimately die. That doesn’t mean European unions roll over on various issues of workplace safety, working hours or etc (in fact they do far better than their American counterparts), just that European unions don’t start from the idea that their job is to make it as difficult as possible for the company to operate.

When we bought our Passat (made in Chattanooga in the plant in question), I read up on VW and the Chattanooga plant, and one of the big draws for VW was that there wasn’t already a big UAW presence in the area.

Now, some years later, apparently VW’s German unions are pressuring them to allow the UAW in and set up the works council.

History has shown that the UAW involvement leads to disaster for automotive manufacturing. The UAW has driven Studebaker, and Packer out of business and bankrupted GM and Chrysler. Investing additional state money in a car manufacturer that is involved with the UAW is like investing in a race horse with a broken leg, just a waste of taxpayer money.

What’s stopping them from setting up a works council anyway?

This doesn’t cite a specific law but it says the same basic thing as **Esox **posted:

U.S. labor law:

Doesn’t have to be UAW, but has to be a union. If the plant workers wanted a works council but not UAW, they could always start their own union and try to get it certified.

This proposal, assuming UAW keeps up their end of the agreement, would be pretty different from the structure at all previous UAW shops, though.

Funny, I thought the main reason for each was making crappy cars. Learn something new every day.

Since I was ninjaed, I’ll make up for it by citing the relevant law:

29 U.S. Code § 158 - Unfair labor practices

I’m glad that Grover Norquist is involved, particularly his staunch, unwavering stand against tax increases of *any *form, whether direct taxes or the end of tax breaks. He has so much integrity.

The UAW also has a history of sabotaging differently structured workplaces, the Saturn plant at Spring Hill, the NUMMI plant in Fremont, etc.

The company is just following the law. For whatever reason, there has to be a union presence to set up a works council. If the state gov’t doesn’t like it, it should work to change the law instead of denying VW its proven business model. What kind of freedom is that for VW?

This is the first I’ve heard of a “works council”, but it seems like a good idea if it avoids the confrontational, us-vs.-them attitudes betweem management and labour that led to unions in the first place. Trying to block it sounds like just another round of lunacy from Republicans. They’re pro-business only if the business conforms strictly to their ideology.

This is just a hunch, but I’d bet that when the auto makers got the bailout, the riot act was read to the UAW. If the union was part of the original problem, it would only make sense to make sure it cleaned up its act if the bailout was to succeed.

Then again, maybe times have changed.

And you don’t think unions in the US play a role in product quality? There was a big to-do in the last year or so about employees at a Chrysler plant getting stoned on the job. They couldn’t be fired - union regs. The chief selling point I’ve heard from UAW members is gloating about how it’s almost impossible to get fired, no matter how big a screw-up you are.

Do they get any credit when the cars are good, or does the CEO get a huge bonus?

As of right now, they do: a profit-sharing bonus.

No. Full stop.

It’s quite possible that VW (a German firm which prefers to work with some form of worker representatives at the table) will have a unionized plant. That has nothing to do with whether Republican politicians’ preference for government socialist control is valid (see previous answer).