Labor Fascism in Chattanooga
As the labor movement tells the story, two months ago, the silly, ungrateful Volkswagen factory workers in Tennessee foolishly rejected the generous invitation of the company and the United Auto Workers to welcome the Detroit-killing union with open arms.
In an election supervised by the federal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the workers in VW's Chattanooga plant rejected UAW representation by a vote of 712 to 626.
Amazingly, the UAW and the automaker both refuse to take the workers' "no" for an answer. The two sides are acting in unison to overturn the democratically expressed will of the workers.
Nullifying an election by fiat with the collusion of corporate management and organized labor is something we would expect to see in a nation dominated by fascism, a dangerous foreign ideology embraced by President Obama and the so-called progressives of the early twentieth century and today.
And this push to eviscerate the legal rights of VW employees is yet more proof that the management philosophy of the automobile manufacturer founded by Adolf Hitler hasn't evolved much since the fall of the Third Reich.
Many Americans don't know that in 1937, Hitler's government created the then-government-owned automobile manufacturer originally called Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH (German for "Society for the preparation of the German People's Car"). It was soon renamed Volkswagenwerk (German for "The People's Car Company").
At a 1938 National Socialist German Workers' Party rally, the Nazi dictator boasted, "It is for the broad masses that this car has been built. Its purpose is to answer their transportation needs, and it is intended to give them joy."
While the Hitlermobile may be a popular car that has brought joy to millions, in recent months it hasn't done the same for those who work assembling it in the Volunteer State.
The company, the union, and the Obama administration have been working together in a public-private partnership to oppress Volkswagen employees. Volkswagen corporate leadership in Chattanooga conspired with the radical United Auto Workers to promote the unionization of the workforce at the plant.
The UAW, by the way, has long underwritten left-wing radicalism. The infamous Port Huron Statement was formulated in 1962 at a UAW camp in Port Huron, Mich.
The declaration, composed largely by radical leftist Tom Hayden, later a California state lawmaker and a one-time husband of Viet Cong enthusiast Jane Fonda, asserted that the American system was beyond redemption and reform, hopelessly mired in racism, militarism, and nihilistic materialism.
The Statement became the founding document of Hayden’s group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an organization that would give birth to Bill Ayers's Weather Underground terrorist group a few short years later.
In Chattanooga this year, management openly encouraged workers to back the union and even allowed union goons onto the shop floor to intimidate workers into supporting union certification.
All of this anti-democratic activity is the textbook definition of fascism, or to be more precise, corporatism, the economic expression of fascism. "Fascism," Benito Mussolini reportedly said, "should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
Volkswagen is far from alone among the big German corporations that embrace corporatism. It is part of the corporate culture in the land of lederhosen.
The German model of management-employee collaboration is a fascistic political vehicle known by the euphemism Betriebsrat, or works council. In order to secure greater productivity and labor peace, U.S. companies generally do something sensible, like, for example, giving workers an opportunity to buy stock in the company for which they work. But in works councils, labor and management essentially come together and sing Kumbaya, at least in theory.
But the NLRB has ruled that works councils constitute company unions that are forbidden by the National Labor Relations Act. Such in-house unions are prohibited as a matter of public policy because they become front groups for management. In America, a labor union is supposed to independently represent workers.
In an effort to impose Hitlerian best practices on the Chattanooga workers, Volkswagen is working to surrender control to the UAW, even though the union blew the election.
“Volkswagen is seriously considering discarding the election results in collusion with the union and gaining cover by a potential upcoming NLRB decision,” said Matt Patterson, the principal architect of the UAW's shellacking at the polls. Volkswagen's union overseas has put "a gun to their head in Germany" and is strong-arming the company into unionizing the Chattanooga facility, the will of the workers be damned, explained Patterson, who is executive director of the Center for Workplace Freedom.
President Obama's puppets on the NLRB are eager to tip the scales in favor of Big Labor. That entity is scheduled to hold a hearing April 21 to listen to the union's absurd contention that outside sources unfairly influenced the unionization vote. According to the union, anti-UAW figures such as former Chattanooga mayor-turned-U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and other local politicians are outsiders who should have kept their mouths shut on a matter that affects the constituents who elected them. UAW is trying to intimidate its opposition by subpoenaing documents from Corker and others.
An academic shill for the labor movement seems to suggest that UAW opponents have no right to freedom of speech.
"The Volkswagen election showed the extraordinary lengths to which Republican lawmakers and anti-union organizations are prepared to go in order to subvert workers’ right to choose a union," writes John W. Logan, a professor and director of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State University.
"Whatever the eventual outcome at Chattanooga, they must never get away with this election chicanery again."
Only a totalitarian left-winger would refer to a free and fair government-monitored election as an example of "chicanery."
The UAW, Volkswagen, and Professor Logan appear to reside in the same ideological camp as labor fascist Craig Becker, a controversial Obama recess appointee who served 21 months on the too powerful National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an anachronism left over from the New Deal.
Becker advocates a strange, authoritarian version of syndicalism in which no one would have the right not to join a union; individuals would only get to choose which union to join. He views free-market capitalism as an obstacle to social justice. In a Harvard Law Review article, he explained how Big Labor should stick it to industry.
The right to engage in concerted activity that is enshrined in the Wagner Act – even when construed in strictly contractual terms – implicitly entails legal restraint of the freedom of capital. What threatens to eviscerate labor’s collective legal rights, therefore, is less the common law principle of individual liberty than the mobility of capital, which courts have held immune from popular control.
That there is such a thing as collective rights is statist fantasy. Rights are possessed only by individuals, at least in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Becker would overthrow all of that in order to move the ball forward for unions.
Becker, who was general counsel at various times to both the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, may also have played a role in drafting an SEIU manual that spelled out how union organizers could pressure businesses into taking away the secret ballot from workers. The “Contract Campaign Manual” surfaced during a racketeering lawsuit filed against the SEIU by the food and facilities management company Sodexo Inc. The company alleged that the SEIU ran an “illegal campaign of extortion.”
[O]utside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds,” the manual reads. Legal and regulatory pressure may be used in order to “threaten the employer with costly action by government agencies or the courts.
As the extremists who dominate the modern labor movement see things, outside pressure exerted by organized labor is good, while outside pressure exerted by anti-union forces is bad.
Matthew Vadum (website) is an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., and author of the ACORN/Obama expose, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Ripping Off and Terrorizing American Taxpayers. Follow him on Twitter. E-mail him at matthewvadum [at] gmail.com.