I found this to be a great little look into just how deep anti-union sentiments flow among conservatives today. From the NYT:
It’s no secret that many Republican lawmakers dislike labor unions, which are big supporters of Democrats. But it’s unusual to see a politician willing to castigate an employer in his state just for talking to union officials about setting up a union at its factory.
Consider the case of Bob Corker, the Republican senator from Tennessee, and Volkswagen, the German automaker that employs 2,000 workers at a plant in Chattanooga…the company is working with the United Auto Workers on a plan to unionize its factory so it can establish what is known as a “works council” in Germany. These councils are essentially committees of workers that meet with management to discuss how to improve conditions and productivity. Some studies have found that plants with such committees have higher productivity and wages than factories without them, which is why both workers and management might want them.
It’s one thing for politicians to argue that public poilcy should or should not support unions, such as measures like the Employee Free Choice Act, which aims, from the labor movement’s perspective, to change policy with the goal of leveling the playing field for union organizing. That’s a wholly legimate debate. But for a politician to get up in a company’s grill like this over private, voluntary negotiations is not only going way out his lane into choices he should have nothing to do with–imagine a pol complaining to a company that signed up with the Chamber of Commerce or NFIB–but a signal of how deeply they fear and disdain unions.
It’s also another example of how allegedly market-oriented policy makers throw their phony anti-interventionism over the side when they feel threatened.
The strangest thing about Mr. Corker’s and Mr. Haslam’s criticism of Volkswagen is that Republicans are usually on the ones telling everybody else in government not to meddle in the affairs of profit-making businesses. After all, it’s their mantra that businesses, not lawmakers, create jobs. But I guess none of that matters in this case because even a company as successful and profitable as Volkswagen, which is competing with Toyota and General Motors to be the world’s largest automaker, must be deluded if it’s entertaining the possibility of working with a dreaded union.