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February 20, 2014


Figuratively speaking, Johnny Mercer’s Chattanooga Choo Choo will now have to cross moats and draw bridges in this new feudalist age Tennessee’s politicians would have us live. It’s as though the National Labor Relations Act and the Wagner Act did not exist as the politicians in Tennessee are beating up not only on labor but on employers as well, which I think is a strange way of attracting new business they say they want.

Senator Bob Corker, former mayor of Scab City, who now enjoys no legislative immunity to suit for what he has to say off the floor of the Senate and who is as liable as you or me if he commits the tort of rear-ending a motorist at a stop light, has made a series of public statements off the floor of the Senate designed to interfere with the formation of a collective bargaining contract between workers to be represented by the UAW Union and Volkswagen in a plant located in Scab City. If sued by the UAW or Volkswagen, or both, he would no doubt file a motion to dismiss on grounds that there exists no contract between the parties with which he could have interfered. However, given his enormous influence in Scab City and the State of Tennessee, I think it is enough to show that the parties were prevented from entering into a contract because of his (and others’) tortuous conduct. I further think it noteworthy that the right to enter into legal contracts is a constitutional right and that no right to work or other statute or practice can prevent any two or more parties from entering into an otherwise legal contract. I see no difference between interfering with performance under an existing contract and interfering with the formation of a contract which, but for such interference, threats and intimidation, was thought to be advantageous by the parties involved. Neither Senator Corker nor the State of Tennessee is, past, present or future, a party to such a proposed collective bargaining agreement, so what is their role in having any say about whether there shall even be a contract? Who invited them to interfere with the constitutional rights of parties who want to negotiate terms of a workplace contract? I thought Republicans were opposed to nanny states and government interference in business and the affairs of citizens to conduct their “free market” activities without coercion or interference by the state. I was misinformed. They are plainly believers in big government when, so to speak, their ox is being gored. One would think that Tennessee’s politicians would like to see their citizens prosper and do well in the workplace, but apparently ideology trumps the well-being even of their own people.

Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Scab City voted UAW representation down as a result of the threats of Senator Corker and others to withdraw past and future tax breaks and an environment featuring the availability of nonunion labor and easy market access. Secretary-General Gunnar Kilian, speaking on behalf of Volkswagen after the vote, said: “We have always stressed that the decision over union representation lies in the hands of the workers in Chattanooga.” He is right, but not in Scab City, where such a decision rests with politicians via interference from on high with the formation of an otherwise legal agreement with their public and wrongful threats – a putative contract to which they cannot be party. So now?  GERALD  E



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  1. billy1926 permalink

    It seems as though I’ve heard the words “ideology trumps . . . . ” before.
    The fears of workers, many of whom are already on the brink of personal family hardship, are very difficult to assuage. The fear-mongers are counting on this factor, but they certainly should be brought to task for employing such tactics. Where are today’s John L. Lewis’s, Douglas Fraser’s, Walter Reuther’s, and Cesar Chavez’s who know how to deal with these mongers?

    • They are as dead in spirit as these wonderful old labor leaders are in body. They have been beaten down in a variety of ways, too many to undertake to set forth here. Suffice it to say that offshoring and automation were not big factors then, nor was capture of 68% of the national capital residing in big Wall Street banks’ coffers.Another problem is that Jose Lunchbucket can now identify with the Dow. Much of his retirement funds are in the stock and bond markets, whether 401(k) or other such retirement types. With globalized markets and no penalties for the cross-border movement of capital with the touch of a button, I fear we are in systemic trouble. My friend Niel who is marrying a lady named Nancy in (he estimates) late March may be coming here after the ceremony. I will take them tomato picking, eating and gator kickin’ since they are both 82 and I assume available for such rather benign activities. Dee Jaye reports that the boss (admiral) called her in this Tuesday and told her that her selection as his special assistant had been approved, but that as with the Fed everywhere, its effective date remains unknown. She keeps going up in her world; she even has a shot at a job where she would be the admiral’s superior, but first things first – do your time taking the heat for the admiral. Warm and sunny here. GES

      On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 3:14 PM, elderblogger wrote:


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