Another win For workers
I mentioned in a previous column that my first car was a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle. My mom gave me rides to work at McDonalds until I saved enough to pay $500 for the seven year old car. It was light and easy to work on. It was so light I went for a month pushing it to start because I was too cheap to buy a battery. Sometimes a passerby would help push.
Hitler called the Bug “the people's car.” In a fascist state the government tells industry what to do and Hitler thought everyone (except for Jews, homosexuals and others not of use to the Aryan ideal) had a right to a car. This sort of thinking prevails here today and seems widely accepted; but it isn't limited to cars. Now our elected representatives from both parties agree we have a right to high speed internet. Sheesh.
This is not good news for the internet. When the commies took over East Germany, they started building the Trabant, the worst car ever made. The communists (although different from the Nazis only in targeted hate objects and an immensely more successful murder campaign) totally flubbed the people's car idea. Although, maybe with everyone constantly trying to keep their cars running, it took their minds off the misery of the communist utopia.
My interest in VW was rekindled when the United Auto Workers (UAW) brought a vote for unionizing the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant. Strangely, Volkswagen officials wouldn't allow any anti-union lobbying inside the plant but enabled the UAW to do so. Maybe it was to assure that the vote was decisive so the union wouldn't whine about unfairness. It didn't work. The union filed an objection with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the grounds that outside influences caused the vote to go against them.
Last week the NLRB decided the anti-UAW employees will be allowed to defend their vote against the union at the NLRB hearings. What? The union had all the advantages and yet lost by a vote of 712 to 626. The advantage the union didn't have is the truth. Unions destroy competition and competition is the guiding force for successful business.
The UAW office in Detroit may be the only open store front left there but that doesn't prevent them from sticking their noses in the business of southerners who prefer to offer an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Now they are trying to unionize the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi.
About the time of the beginning of my interest in cars, Toyota and Datsun brought their Coronas and 510s to the U.S. Small, tinny and precisely built, they offered an alternative to the sloppy rolling living rooms offered by Detroit. A 510 could blow away a Chevelle on Topanga Canyon Road at a fraction of the cost. Personal preference dictated whether fun came in a straight line or curves. I like curves. I don't know if the Datsun name rusted away to reveal Nissan or what but now it is called Nissan.
Nissan doesn't allow union organizers to disrupt the operation of their plant like VW did. Good for them. It's their property. Maybe Volkswagen anticipated a taxpayer bailout when the union drove them into insolvency. Many of the Nissan workers don't welcome the union bullies either. A popular t-shirt around Canton says “If you want a union” on the front and “Move to Detroit” on the back.
The media like to guide public opinion into an us versus them argument, as if these issues were some type of sports contest. They aren't. It is the difference between right and wrong rooted in an acceptance of force as a means to an end. Unions use force. Any worker, not happy with their job can walk away. Nissan owns no slaves, although I wouldn't be surprised if labor organizers tried to paint it that way.
Nissan's desire to turn a profit drives them to provide working conditions and wages to achieve that end by keeping employees on the job. A high turnover of well-trained employees doesn't. Wages established by a mob subvert that concept and the evidence is in Detroit.
It's time to put to rest the idea of employers and employees as an adversarial relationship. From international relations to labor relations to personal relationships: an illusional view as adversaries is always used to provide unearned gains for the few at the expense of the many.