It is commonly but erroneously stated that the U.S. government bailed out the auto industry. But truth be known, the Obama administration bailed out only two of the three auto companies. Those two companies were in one of the two U.S. auto industries—the UAW-organized one. The other industry—the one not saddled with the industry-ruining UAW—was not in need of rescuing. Here George Will explains how and why the UAW lost a Chattanooga presence in the South.
UAW officials blamed last week’s failure on “outside special-interest groups,” which describes the UAW in Chattanooga. In a characteristically shrill and clumsy intervention before the voting ended, Barack Obama accused Tennessee Republicans of being “more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.” He missed the detail that the shareholders’ company favored the UAW. The UAW, too, blamed Tennessee’s Republican politicians. Well.
VW received $577 million in tax breaks and other incentives to locate in Chattanooga, so Tennessee officials surely were entitled to speak about how unionization might harm the investment already made and might diminish the likelihood of additional help. Nowadays, however, liberalism responds to its unpersuasiveness by trying to get government to silence (as with the Internal Revenue Service) or punish (it is the National Labor Relations Board’s turn) speech by liberalism’s critics. So, the UAW may ask the NLRB to overturn the vote because of unfair labor practices, which supposedly amount to the fact that the UAW was not the only speaker during the debate before the vote. Anti-UAW billboards noted Detroit’s current prostration, and Sen. Bob Corker called the UAW “a Detroit-based organization.” Its headquarters, Solidarity House, is in Detroit.
Soon — certainly by the end of June — the Supreme Court probably will rebuke Obama for having made recess appointments to the NLRB while the Senate was not in recess. But given his administration’s culture of breezy indifference to legality, the NLRB might tug its forelock and do as the UAW demands.