When we think of labor union support, Mississippi doesn't usually come to mind. But it may be time to think again, because a union effort is gaining momentum there.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, labor union workers are finding an ally in the South. The United Automobile Workers are getting help from unusual sources in organizing a Mississippi Nissan plant. The plant employs 5,000.
Nissan management has been pushing their employees harder and harder by speeding up the assembly line, leaving them exhausted and feeling mistreated with no way to stand up for themselves. People are noticing, supporting a "more pleasant place to work" so that workers will feel less pressured, demeaned, and become more productive.
In the words of one longtime employee, now "other people are willing to stand up for you. It takes the fear out of you."
This time, union organizers have help from an unexpected source. Pastors and students across this part of central Mississippi have joined the campaign, championing the workers' cause. From pulpits, at leafleting campaigns outside Nissan dealerships and at auto industry events in Brazil, Geneva and Detroit, these new organizers have a message: God supports the working man. [...]
The UAW is very clearly involved with the pastors' efforts, helping them form the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan...
But for the pastors as well as the workers the organizing drive is not just about union membership. For many, it has become a way to shore up a shrinking middle class. Their campaign, they say, is a modern-day civil rights struggle whose antecedents go back more than 50 years to the days when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, the day after he spoke to striking sanitation workers.
Mississippi's conservative Legislature also has waded into the fray. The House of Representatives earlier this month passed a package of bills that would restrict union organizing, one of which labor leaders say is meant to prohibit pastors and outside groups from protesting with the Nissan workers.
Gee, what a surprise: Conservatives trying to bust labor union efforts. And we know how union members tend to vote come election day, right? (Hint: Democratic.)
African Americans have a history of being more open to unionizing than white workers are, so that may be making the difference here, since most of the plant's work force is African American. It will be an uphill battle, but this is good news. One day, pairing the words "labor union" and Mississippi may not seem so extraordinary.
Oh, tip-toe around all you want, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. You put your private parts and your nose into a place they didn't belong and now you've not only screwed over your home state, but perhaps the entire south. Hope you're feeling pretty good right now.
The issues was the unionizing vote taken a few days ago at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. If the vote when for the union, the workers would be covered for additional benefits and in some cases, raises. Not bad if you're a worker. Interestingly the company, Volkswagen was for it.
But other auto manufacturers in the South, noted for their Republican anti-union, anti-labor stands were not so happy. It would mean workers would want to work for Volkswagen instead of their lower paying counterparts. Heavens. That could mean an increase in the living standard for these people. Who would want that?
Certainly not Sen. Corker. He broke with tradition and actively inserted himself into the union election. This may actually be a violation of the National Labor Relations Board rules -- but let's put that aside. Let's say he skirted the issue just enough to be legal and not persecuted (which still remains to be seen).
The Tennessee senator came out and used unnamed sources as saying, well, here's exactly what he said, according to HUFFPO:
"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Corker said last week.
Now how politician-y can you get. He had conversations but doesn't say with whom? And those unnamed sources "assured," not guaranteed him that a vote against unionization would bring a new plant to Chattanooga.
Seems that's not the case at all. So Senator Bobby Pinocchio Corker, before your nose grows so long it causes you to do a face plant into the ground, why not reveal this source of your information? Whoever it was, doesn't seem to have fed you the truth. And how do we know that? Why from the Volkswagen people themselves. Reuters:
Following the union vote, the head of Volkswagen's works council told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the automaker would hesitate to expand in the U.S. South.
"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the South again," said works council leader Bernd Osterloh.
So, now how do you feel, Senator Corksucker? You not only drove a future Volkswagen plant out of your state, but also out of the South. How many jobs did you just fu** your constituents out of?
You're such a Republican. Cost Americans good paying jobs and then call out the President on how little he's done to stimulate the economy and create jobs. It's hard to accomplish both of those when you individually and the Republicans as a party are so hell bent on ruining America.
In a previous post, "UAW Charges Romney With Profiteering From Auto Bailout," Greg Palast's report that Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off the taxpayer funded auto bailout got some attention.
Palast had written about how Mitt and “Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.” And the UAW and others listened.
Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers pointed out that Mitt Romney was busy writing op-eds opposing the Detroit auto rescue, but was even busier making money with his Delphi investor group “off the misfortunes of others.”
In the video below, you'll hear King's first hand account of how the UAW and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) “have filed a formal complaint with the US Office of Government Ethics in Washington stating that Gov. Romney improperly hid a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney’s so-called ‘blind’ trust.”
Here is Ed Schultz interviewing him on last night's "The Ed Show":
Greg Palast previously reported that Romney secretly made millions, and his biggest donors billions, off the taxpayer funded auto bailout. He wrote about how Mitt and “Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.”
As Bob King, President of the United Automobile Workers pointed out, Mitt Romney was busy writing op-eds opposing the Detroit auto rescue, but was even busier making money with his Delphi investor group "off the misfortunes of others."
Greg Palast now has a follow-up at Truthout:
[Mitt Romney] has just learned that tomorrow afternoon (November 1) he will be charged by the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and other public interest groups with violating the federal ethics in government law by improperly concealing his multi-million dollar windfall from the auto industry bailout.
King said that the UAW and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) "have filed a formal complaint with the US Office of Government Ethics in Washington stating that Gov. Romney improperly hid a profit of $15.3 million to $115.0 million in Ann Romney's so-called 'blind' trust."
The UAW complaint calls for Romney to reveal exactly how much he made off Delphi -- and continues to make. The Singer syndicate, once in control of Delphi, eliminated every single UAW job --25,000-- and moved almost all auto parts production to Mexico and China where Delphi now employs 25,000 auto parts workers.
More details here.
UPDATE, here's the entire speech via WhiteHouse.gov (h/t: @mykukla):
President Obama knocked it out of the park in his speech today.
I'm still hunting for the full version, but TPM has this fiery excerpt:
"You want to talk about values?” Hard work, that’s a value. Looking out for one another, that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, that is a value!”
“But they’re still talking about you as if you’re some greedy special interest that needs to be beaten. Since when are hardworking men and women special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for each other a bad thing?”
And as opposed to his GOP rivals, he appears to be enjoying his work.
Here's one more that picks up where the first video leaves off, at about 1:00:
You can go to CSPAN and view the entire speech here.
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