No backing down: Local UAW branch sets up at VW Chattanooga


UAW International President Dennis Williams said Thursday afternoon the new chapter is being created in Chattanooga because “the February vote was a narrow loss — 53 percent to 47 percent — and the result showed strong support among workers, despite heavy opposition from outside groups and Tennessee legislators” and because the UAW already has “signed cards from a majority of the workers prior to the election, saying they favored representation.”

So all eyes will now be on the Tennessee Governor, I assume.

Is he still going to threaten to hold back that $300 million incentive package from VW because of his union hate (or that of his financial backers)? In other words, is he still interested in cutting off Tennessee’s nose to spite its face?

Industriall says this is the first time UAW has set up a local union branch with the purpose of representing workers in a single workplace.

Congrats Local 42!

Read more at The Tennessean or read the UAW’s press release below.

Published on Jul 11, 2014
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The UAW today announced the formation of UAW Local 42, a new local union providing representation for employees at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Organized by Volkswagen employees, Local 42 offers workers the opportunity for a voice in the workplace through the German automaker’s “works council” approach to employee engagement. Volkswagen’s business model is premised on employee representation, and Local 42 will represent any interested employees who join the local as members. No employees will be required to join.

“Earlier this year, the UAW was gratified to earn the confidence and support of many Volkswagen team members,” said Dennis Williams, president of the UAW. “At that time, we said we would not give up on these committed and hard-working employees. We’re keeping our promise.”

Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, who previously served as director of UAW Region 8 covering the South, emphasized: “Local 42 will be run by, and for, the employees at Volkswagen.”

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and have arrived at a consensus with the company,” Casteel said. “Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce, we’re confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members’ union that represents those employees who join the local. As part of this consensus, the UAW is committed to continuing its joint efforts with Volkswagen to ensure the company’s expansion and growth in Chattanooga.”

UAW officials renewed requests for the State of Tennessee to extend the economic incentives necessary for Volkswagen to add a new product line at the Chattanooga plant, and said the union will continue advocating for increased investment. “State officials have assured the public and the Volkswagen workforce that the decision on incentives for Chattanooga is not related to whether workers exercise their right to join a union,” said Ray Curry, the newly elected director of UAW Region 8. “We are gratified by those assurances, and the state was right to give them.”

UAW officials reiterated the reasoning for recently withdrawing objections to the February election at the plant, which was tainted by outside interference. “As Volkswagen’s works council partner, the UAW’s role is to encourage job creation and promote job security so that Volkswagen employees can achieve the American dream and Chattanooga’s economy can prosper,” Casteel said. “We withdrew objections to end the controversy and put the focus where it belongs: obtaining the economic incentives necessary to ensure the growth of Volkswagen in Chattanooga and the addition of a new product line.”

Volkswagen employees formally announced Local 42 at an afternoon news conference, and immediately began communicating with fellow team members and with the plant’s management about next steps in advancing the works council partnership.

“Being part of the creation of an American-style works council is a chance to do something new and different,” said Michael Cantrell, a Volkswagen paint technician. “This is about securing good jobs for the future of the plant and Chattanooga, and building lasting partnerships between management and team members.”

Additionally, Local 42 members pledged to get involved in the community — as UAW members have done in other communities across the country — to support charitable causes, youth programs and other local needs. “I see Local 42 as an opportunity to give back to Chattanooga and southeast Tennessee,” said Myra Montgomery, a quality inspector in the Volkswagen plant. “As our membership grows, people are going to see us very active in this community.”

Local 42 members declared workforce development to be a top priority, and said they would work with Volkswagen and the UAW to organize job-training opportunities so that employees can continually expand their skills as new technologies emerge and manufacturing processes change.

“Having access to the UAW’s expertise and support will keep the plant competitive and will keep our workforce on the cutting edge of productivity and quality,” said Jonathan Walden, who works in the Volkswagen plant’s paint department. “The members of Local 42 are ready to roll up our sleeves and focus on the future.”

United Automobile Workers (UAW) has more than 390,000 members and more than 750 local unions across America. Since its founding in 1935, the UAW has developed partnerships with employers and supported industry-leading wages and benefits for its members.


Observations and Realizations of 2011

As most people do, I have been reflecting a lot on what’s taken place in 2011, and as is my nature, have observed some very interesting things. First and foremost, the uprising of the downtrodden. Whether it be here or abroad, people are sick and tired of being fed lies and deceit. They are tired of being robbed by the rich, and being slaves to corporate greed. They are tired of seeing the rich get away with crimes that the common man would be imprisoned for. And it’s all come to a boiling point.

Growing up during the 60’s, I took an interest in what was going on in the world. The civil rights movement was happening, and even being a white kid in a predominantly white city, I still felt that what was taking place was wrong, and that people of all races should be treated equally. Something I felt the catholic church and school I went to had taught me. Then came the ecology movement, and the anti-Vietnam protests. Through it all, I would read the newspaper, and watch the news with my parents, and would discuss a lot of what I had been reading and seeing on TV. I am ever so grateful to have had parents who were willing to discuss these things. .

I came from a blue collar family, where my Mom was a home-maker and my Dad worked in a factory. We lived in a small 3 bedroom house, with no garage. I was already learning then, how those with wealth had the power, and how “privileged” those other kids from those families were. I remember when the church we attended would put out a listing of all the members donations, and how the rich kids would tease those of us whose parents weren’t able to give as much. I didn’t understand it then, but I realize now they were just repeating what they were hearing at home. And this image of wealthy privilege has stuck with me since childhood. I was 8 years old, and had worked with my Dad to make my pinewood derby car in Cub Scouts. My Dad had been working nights, and we only had a weekend to work on it, and he helped me make a spectacular car. Well, the night of the pinewood derby, I had sewn up 3rd place with that car, and was really proud of what my Dad and I had accomplished together. But before the awards were to be handed out, in walks a well known doctor in town with his son. Although the rest of us all had to be signed up 30 minutes before the event, this guy waltzes in and basically demands that his son be allowed to race. He was allowed to enter his car, and I was kicked out of 3rd place. I learned then that some were more privileged than others, and weren’t made to play by the same rules.

The next year, I was being harassed by the son of the president of pretty big business in the area. He grabbed my shirt and pulled so hard that he ripped buttons off of it, and had tore part of the shirt. This was a shirt that was part of the uniform I had to wear, and I knew my Mom was going to be irate. I try to walk away and this kid keeps harassing me, and I end up beating him up. The next day, after I get to school, the nun sends me to the principals office. When I get there, the head nun starts scolding me for the fight, and when I tried to explain to her about the shirt and him harassing me, she told me I was to sit in her office all day as punishment. Of course, the other kid didn’t get any punishment at all. That was pretty much the last straw with my Mom. Plus the fact that tuition had increased, that was my last year at that school.

As I went through school, I noticed how those who came from money were always looking down at those with less. Mocking our clothes, bikes, etc. This went on all through my school years, seeing those with money getting special treatment. And here’s what I realize. Through the magic of Facebook, many of those same people who were of the privileged class, are now hard-core conservatives. They have little empathy for those who have nothing, because they never had to experience it in their lives. They don’t understand the concept of class struggle, because they themselves were from upper middle-class families that never struggled to make ends meet, and they were always on the winning end of the equation. The division of classes was already taking root at that time. You had white collar vs. blue collar then, where today we have the rich vs. those who aren’t rich.

But what’s different today is that there are a class of people who side with the rich, even though they themselves are being pushed down by their actions. And what I find so puzzling is how many of those who went through those times like I did, being made to feel less than from the kids of the white collar class, are the ones who are now admonishing the lower class and blaming them for all of our ails. And I realize now why that is. Many of them, like myself, wanted to have a better life than their parents did. They bettered themselves, or worked hard to make a better life for themselves. But as corporate greed started to increase, their own wealth and lives started to erode. We didn’t stop working as hard. We didn’t start working less. So what caused this change? It was the old bait and switch.

The age old tom foolery of pointing towards others to take the focus off of the true problem. We did it as little kids. We get caught taking a cookie from the cookie jar, and we point a finger and Johnny and say he did it too. It’s no different with the rich and the big corporations. During the late 70’s and early 80’s, the middle-class were starting to see that shift in wealth taking place, and we just kept thinking if we worked harder, and worked more we could get that wealth too. Then came the cost of health care. Businesses started to require employees to start sharing some of the cost of the increases. We were upset by it, and we were told from insurers that it was the doctors and pharmaceutical companies that were to blame. And the insurance companies told us that it was because of all those people who run to the doctor for every little ache and pain.

In the meantime, wages started to freeze. Companies were more concerned about stock values than they were about reciprocal loyalty to their employees. Then came the first wave of the rich stealing from others. There was the S & L bailouts, and then Black Tuesday. The average American who was lead to believe the stock market was a great investment opportunity, and those employees who were fooled by their corporate employers that investing in stock was a great idea. These people lost their asses. Myself included. Yet somehow, very few corporations folded, and very few on Wall Street lost their ass.

Next came the corporate takeovers. Our wages and benefits were either froze or reduced to help the company “recover” from the investment in our future. Meanwhile, those at the top were raking in huge profits. But, we were told they couldn’t give us raises, and we had to pay more for insurance. When asked why, corporations started to point the finger at the government. It was those high taxes they had to pay, and those people receiving government aid and assistance who were the real culprits. So, some people started to fall for the bullshit. Hell, even I did for a while.

So now, we’ve got a demographic of people, the baby boomers, who early in life were led to believe that hard work and sacrifice were the way to do better in life. They were shown too how those with more wealth were treated better by the powers that be. This became the goal for many of us. We were then told that even though we were working hard and sacrificing, that we needed to work harder still and sacrifice even more to help the “company” because we were all one big team. So we did. And our reward? We were told that despite all that hard work and effort, it was those government moochers who were causing these corporations to have to make cuts, that had to move jobs overseas, and had to reduce wages and benefits for those still working. It was a concerted campaign by many corporations to make them still appear to be the good guy in all this, and that it was government and those with less than who were to blame, and that if we didn’t all pull together and work even harder, we could lose our jobs too.

And as unions started to wake up and realize what was taking place, corporations were starting to blame the high labor costs for their problems, and switching the focus towards the unions. All the while, the executives at the top kept making more and more money. So now we’ve got unions, and those receiving government subsidies made to look like the biggest reason why the middle class was losing their fight to better themselves.

Enter the anti-union movement. Corporations, not wanting everyone to see how those at the top were seeing their wages increase, started to ostracize unions and paint them as the main reason why products were costing so much to produce. People start seeing their wages and benefits cut, but bigger unions were still able to maintain some of the pay and benefits that many had lost. The propaganda started to emerge to make those who won the battle with corporations to appear as the bad guy. And once again, many were fooled into believing that it was the unions who were being greedy, when all along it’s been the executives at the top.

So now, they’ve cut or frozen our wages. Reduced benefits. Conned us into investing in 401k’s instead of providing pensions like they used to. (and we all know what’s happened to a lot of that 401k money don’t we?). But wait, there’s more. After reducing the wages and benefits of their lower level employees by blaming unions for all their problems. And after getting everyone to think that it was also those who were mooching off the system. They ran out of things to blame their greed on.

Until now. Now, it’s the government employee who is to blame. It is those highly paid employees and all their benefits that are costing these big corporations all kinds of money in tax dollars. Never mind the fact that they are paying less in taxes than they’ve ever paid before. It’s all those non-legislative government workers who are draining the system and causing these corporations to not pay their workers. I finally get it. The wealthy have not only been given the gift of privilege, they’ve also been given the gift of deception, for they’ve pulled off one of the greatest scams of all time.

Scott Walker on “Big Government” and Occupy Wall Street

Who does Fox and Friends’ Gretchen Carlson turn to to help her understand the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Movement? Specifically, the entry of unions in the mix? None other than Wisconsin Governor Scott “Recall” Walker.  No surprise he’s still on his message that every single story is about private enterprise vs. “Big Government”.

GRETCHEN CARLSON (HOST): What do you make of the unions getting involved in these protests?

WALKER: Well I think they’re looking for a way to draw attention away from the real issues, which are, what do we need to do to put more people to work? The biggest thing we need to do I think at least in Wisconsin, across the country, is get government out of the way, make it easier for job creators to create more jobs. All these other things are kind of distractions. They’re ways of trying to show activity, show action, suggest that they’re being advocates, but in the end that doesn’t put people to work. You were talking in the earlier segment about the new jobless numbers coming out, the new unemployment rate coming out tomorrow, we need to ultimately put more power back in the hands of the people, and that means the American consumer, the American entrepreneur and the American job creator, not more money back in the hands of big government, and that’s really the debate going on here.

He wants to put “power back in the hands of the people”. I’m so amused I could choke. This is why his Dept. of Administration locked the people out of their Capitol building this spring in defiance of a court order?

Photo source:dailyreporter

And I have to ask, is delivering the public’s tax money to corporate private schools and handing over political control to a state agency instead of the local school boards putting “power back in the hands of the people”? WHILE he cuts at least $1.6 billion from locally controlled public education?

Perhaps the thing that makes his “putting power back in the hands of the people” point most enraging is Walker’s signature on Wisconsin’s recent vote suppression bill AB7. When 177,399 Wisconsinites 65 years old and up have neither a driver’s license nor a state ID, and they now need one to vote, where’s the people power?

He says we need to ask “what do we need to do to put more people to work?”

Why would I look to him for this information OR this advice?

His plan to create 250,000 jobs is not a rocketing success. Looks like unemployment was on the downswing until he got into office. Now it’s going back up. These job and unemployment numbers are a constant shuffling game for all politicians who take credit for the good, and push off anything bad on the guy who had the job before. But Walker upped the ante when he campaigned heavily on his ability to deliver jobs. Thus, it is time for him to hang by the rope he brought in with him. We need to start yelling that he is NOT DELIVERING THOSE JOBS.

With an FBI probe closing in, a recall effort against him, AND a failing “jobs plan”, his quivering hands are getting a little full.

Related bluecheddar posts:
How to Choke the Vote: Wisconsin Assembly Voter ID Bill 7 Passed
Let it be known that the day Walker suppressed the vote, people yelled like hell.

Interview with John Nichols at today’s march against Walker’s budget

Here’s an interview of John Nichols discussing Walkerville, today’s march against Walker’s budget, and Wisconsin Act 10.
I was doing some live Ustreaming and ran into him on Carroll Street.

He’ll be in Washington D.C. tonight to stand with National Nurses United. More information on a national registered nurse rally is HERE.

If you’d prefer to see this with video, John starts talking at the 48 minute mark on my archived Ustream from today:

Video streaming by Ustream

Shaken? Angry? Proud?

I just read “The Mood in Wisconsin: Shaken, Angry, but Proud” by Jane Slaughter from Union Notes.  It’s a great post.

Jim Cavanaugh of SCFL answers that union members are “more angry than depressed”

Carl Aniel says some are ” incredibly frustrated and stunned. Other people are very motivated and want to do more than has happened this far.”

I’m seeing all around me:  ” a plethora of labor-community coalitions have formed or been energized”. I hope this is helping union members take heart.

The power of these cross-pollinating grassroots and union groups will be absolutely essential going into the upcoming election cycles. Walker’s going to get his wish to undercut funding of public sector unions, and by extension the Democratic Party’s efforts:

“Everyone agrees that dues will be a hard sell. “People have different perspectives on whether the union will still be what it was or should be,” said WPEC President Greg Georg, “and that may affect whether they’re willing to pay dues.””

Jane Slaughter finds some of the union structure to be flabby through these challenging months, but she also points out the points where the unions are adding muscle such as with successful membership committees, and weekly action meetings.

Got to Shaken, Angry, but Proud to get the full picture.

And if you care to comment are you feeling? Angry? Shaken? Proud?


Solidarity Shopper: The Coupon Series by Michael Martin

This is a very good day. That’s because I found 5 Solidarity Shopper Coupons by Michael Martin on facebook!   HERE’s where I found all 5 of these little deal-breakers. Continue reading

Wisconsin Protests Part 4. Feb. 15-March 10. Matt Wisniewski

Another video from the incredible film maker Matt Wisniewski. Here’s his photography web site. Here’s where he collects all of the supportive emails sent to him from all over the world. LINK to Matt’s VIMEO page for LARGE FORMAT & his notes.

This is Ohio Today. Over 8,000 protesters at the Statehouse.

From the Ohio AFL-CIO blog “The rally comes after a major turnout last week at the Statehouse, where thousands of workers, students, faith leaders and community members were locked out of the Statehouse. Rallies and events against Senate Bill 5 and Gov. Kasich’s broader assault on the middle class occurred throughout the week and into the weekend.”

An article on the Columbus, Ohio scene today from NewsNet5.

From the Stand up for Ohio facebook page: “The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board is estimating the crowd at 8,500.”  Reuters puts the # of Ohio Protesters at 5,000
Source: Charles Brace from the First Draft Blog. Image by Matt Bruning.


Seriously? Walker tried to dine 1 block from the Capitol?

The  restaurant where Walker was supposedly booed is 1 block from Madison’s Capitol building: “ground zero” for protest against Walker’s radical “Budget Repair Bill”.

I’m a little doubtful this really happened because – well – is he really so ignorant that he thinks he can relax in public anywhere on the Isthmus of Madison now? If the answer is “yes”, this man is more daft than I could have fathomed.

Lifted from a blog called “Mind Stain”: Scott Walker Asked to Leave Local Restaurant

You know you’re not well liked when you are asked to leave a local tavern because people boo-ing at you causes an upset, but this is exactly what happened to Wisconsin State Governor Scott Walker on Friday the 18th of February. 

“Why don’t you like me? Sad Scott Walker is sad.”

[Name of restaurant removed-see comments]  in Madison, WI confirms that on Friday night, Patrick Sweeney (one of the owners) politely asked Scott Walker to leave the establishment when other customers began boo-ing him. A bartender at the restaurant said that, “his presence was causing a disturbance to the other customers and management asked him to leave.”

Schedule of Madison-Area Events this Weekend from

Look at all of these events springing up. Madison has marches, a concert, and forums tomorrow. And Sunday there is a day-long “People’s Legislature” forum.  I know there are many more – like my church gathering to march! It’s going to be a huge day tomorrow. Sleep well and remember to visit for their further listings and live bloging.

Saturday, February 26:

*All day: Rally to Save the American Dream at the Capitol. Sponsored by Progressives United.

*9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Leafletting at the Kohl Center (WIAA Wrestling Tournament)

*10:30 a.m. – AFSCME Correctional Officers from Wisconsin and Illinois meet at the intersection of Mifflin St. & Wisconsin Ave. for walk to State Capitol

*10:30 a.m. – Protest at Koch office, 10 East Doty Street, Madison. Sponsored by US Uncut.

*11:00 a.m. – UWHC Radiology Department sign making and march from UW-Madison Memorial Union to State Capitol Continue reading

You Are Wisconsin: Rally to Save the American Dream, Saturday Feb. 26

An amazing 66 rallies and counting are part of tomorrow’s national “Rally to Save the American Dream” at noon in each time zone, with 40 supporting organizations signed on.

Please visit HERE to see where a rally is near you. When you go, wear red in solidarity with us Badgers of Wisconsin and put on your cheesehead. Short of a cheese hat, I’d suggest just bringing a block of delicious Wisconsin cheese for a snack!

The point of this is to show that people care about working families across the country. As MoveOn.Org says,
“..if we can get huge crowds across the nation, it’ll send a clear message that progressives are fired up and ready to go….This is an opening to call out the Republican game plan for what it is: a brazen effort to use a wrecked economy as an excuse to reward the rich and powerful while destroying 50 years of democratic progress.”

Let’s do this, people.

Image from Nickolas Nikolic of
Students March in Wisconsin
Image from BlueRobot on


Feb 24: Noon Vote, Firefighters, Koch Brothers, Amy Goodman

Forgive me for this is a post dashed off quickly. But I want to make sure people know about these events of note for today:

11:30-ish A much-rumored huge gathering of fire fighters will occur at Wisconsin’s capitol. I did call a local firehouse to be told only that it was fairly spontaneous and will be large. Firemen will met at Station Number 1 – 316 W. Dayton St. – 11:30am & following, march two short blocks to the Capitol.

12 Noon- The projected time of an Assembly vote on their version of the earlier Senate version of the Budget Repair [or “Disrepair”] Bill that was the cause of an earlier departure of our 14 Democrat Senators for Illinois.  You can watch events unfold live at Wisconsin Eye – a non-profit “CSPAN” for Wisconsin. Continue reading

Ohio Citizens Locked Out of Their Own Statehouse Today

This is not what Democracy looks like.

When thousands arrived at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus today, they found themselves locked out of their own government building. They came to protest SB 5 – a bill much like Scott Walker’s inappropriately named “Budget Repair Bill”. Ohio’s governor unveiled his union-busting bill 2 days before Walker unveiled his.

I wrote a bit about the Ohio bill HERE. I predicted our gov. would copycat Kasich.  Now Kasich must fear that his people will copycat Wisconsin’s and take over their Capitol building.

From “A Capital Square Review and Advisory Board spokesperson is telling reporters that the decision to keep people out of the Statehouse came from the Department of Public Safety. In other words, the Kasich administration. If you’d like to reach out to the Governor, call his office at (614) 466-3555 and if they don’t answer, try the constituent hotline and make sure they record your complaint (614) 644-4357. And if you feel like it, touch base with Director Charles at the Department of Public Safety (614) 466-3383.

We’re hearing legal actions are also being taken. Don McTigue is rumored to be filing on behalf of concerned citizens, petitioning AG DeWine to open the Statehouse. If he does not comply a lawsuit will be filed asking for immediate relief.”

See photos and video at Progressive Ohio

Independent Egyptian Unions Express Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers

Please read this—

TRANSLATION: (The poster in the background shows photographs of some of the recent young victims of the Mubarak government. The writing says they are among the martyrs of the 25 January Revolution.)

KAMAL ABBAS: “I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, “Liberation Square”, which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights.

From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us.

I want you to know that no power can challenge the will of the people when they believe in their rights. When they raise their voices loud and clear and struggle against exploitation. Continue reading

Where there is Andrew Breitbart, there are lies.

Not pigpen. I recall that Charles Shultz is a conservative. Instead, I present a dirty pig.

Some people leave a wake of garbage in their path. Reminds me of Pigpen from Charlie Brown .

Andrew Breitbart spoke at Madison, Wisconsin yesterday to approximately 3,500 Tea Party and Pro-Walker people. They were there to do their darndest to match the numbers of Progressives, workers, and students that have rallied since last week February 14 against Scott Walker’s union-busting “Budget Repair Bill”.

Now there are rumors left behind to dispel. Picking up garbage is something we thought we’d have to do after receiving 60,000 visitors. But this?: A doctored video Continue reading