As the news came out late Friday night that workers at the Chattanooga VW plant voted down the UAW, many were left shaking their heads and trying to figure out where to point the blame for the defeat.
UAW leadership made a statement about Republican Party interference with promised incentives, and the workers at the plant gave comments about the same issues shortly after the vote count was announced.
What happened in Tennessee is not terribly different than what took place in Seattle last month with the Machinists and Boeing.
The notion that workers need to forgo their rights in order to justify an economy while the very ELECTED politicians never once entertain the same concession themselves is the real all-American sport these days.
Unions became strong in this country because workers who organized their unions stood up, fought back, and had a sense of militancy that we rarely see today. We occupied plants and did wildcat strikes within the same exact economic climate we are in today, but so much of that history is either lost or overly romanticized to the point that repeating what those who came before us did seems all but impossible. But is it?
We think it has to do with the culture of where we work and our acceptance of the culture. Acceptance, for instance, that violence comes with the job for a healthcare professional is one of the chief myths being broken in an ongoing California campaign to get a Cal/OSHA standard on workplace violence.
“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry,” says the Susan B. Anthony quote and the famous IWW slogan … I think we are safe in saying that we must do a helluva lot more of each to move any worker movement in this country, and perhaps starting with “educate.”