Skip to comments.Update: AP Revision to VW-Chattanooga Story Laments UAW's Loss of 'Potential Watershed Moment'
Posted on 02/15/2014 11:07:12 AM PST by Kaslin
Following revisions to initial stories at the Associated Press, aka the Adminstration's Press, can be a revealing if sometimes tedious exercise.
A case in point is how reporters Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig, who are both more than likely represented by the News Media Guild in their jobs at the wire service, changed the tone of their second report following the rejection by employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant of representation by the United Auto Workers union. And speaking of changed tones, UAW President Bob King suddenly moved from conciliatory to confrontational in the 3-1/2 hours between the first and second AP reports.
Let's compare the two reports' headlines and their opening two and three paragraphs, respectively (bolds are mine throughout this post):
11:17 p.m. Friday (excerpted at this NewsBusters post early this morning; AP's flushes original reports at its national site down the memory hole once revisions appear; the older version can still be found here, but that may change)
VW WORKERS AT TENNESSEE PLANT REJECT UNION
Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation, a devastating loss that derails the United Auto Workers union's effort to organize Southern factories.
The 712-626 vote released late Friday stunned many labor experts who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.
2:52 a.m. Saturday
UAW FALLS 87 VOTES SHORT OF MAJOR VICTORY IN SOUTH
Just 87 votes at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee separated the United Auto Workers union from what would have been its first successful organization of workers at a foreign automaker in the South.
Instead of celebrating a potential watershed moment for labor politics in the region, UAW supporters were left crestfallen by the 712-626 vote against union representation in the election that ended Friday night.
The result stunned many labor experts who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.
The first report's headline and opening paragraph represented the real news, namely that workers rejected union representation in an election. The second report completely changes the focus to a lament about how the UAW came so close.
It would be interesting to see if Krisher and Schelzig had "victory!" verbiage prepared in advance. The discussion of a "watershed moment for labor politics" in a report about a loss which they described as "devastating" in their first report would seem to indicate that they had it in reserve and decided to use it, even in defeat.
As to King's attitude change, here is how the two AP reports compare:
11:17 p.m. Friday
King, however, stuck to statements he made earlier that the union would seek a vote and respect any decision made by workers.
"While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union," King said in a statement.
2:52 a.m. Saturday
After 53 percent of the workers voted against his union, King said he was outraged at what he called "outside interference" in the election. He wouldn't rule out challenging the outcome with the National Labor Relations Board.
"It's never happened in this country before that the U.S. senator, the governor, the leader of the House, the legislature here, threatened the company with no incentives, threatened workers with a loss of product," King said. "We'll look at all our options in the next few days."
As far as I can tell, no one threatened anyone.
Republican Volunteer State Senator Bob Corker did tell reporters Wednesday, according to a Reuters report, that he had "been 'assured' that if workers at the Volkswagen AG plant in his hometown of Chattanooga reject United Auto Worker representation, the company will reward the plant with a new product to build."
That's not a threat. As I observed last night, if Corker's statement is true, there isn't any good reason why he shouldn't be allowed to say it.
In the first report, the AP reporters noted that local UAW officials were considering challenging the results, but that King wasn't going along with the idea. It would appear that the union chief saw his militancy bona fides slipping away, and is now singing from the sore losers' hymnal.
AP's second report did contain what should be a useful contribution to the national labor relations discussion:
VW wanted a German-style "works council" in Chattanooga to give employees a say over working conditions. The company says U.S. law won't allow it without an independent union.
This would have been a MAJOR DEFEAT for hardworking American workers.
The UAW did not lose the “watershed moment”, in fact, the moment was of surprising importance to them, and they got to “enjoy” every bit of it.
The old call for voting in a union, in whatever enterprise, is losing its allure and luster. Unions have, quite successfully at times, managed to close down many industries in those localities where no countervailing force has or ever could resist their demands and sometimes absurd grievances.
It has been YEARS since any union could deliver more to the potential members of the workforce than the individual could carve out for himself, and only the incompetent think that they could earn some kind of workplace “justice” by withholding commitment to quality products or by work stoppages altogether.
Labor is a fungible commodity, and no man is indispensable in any production procedure. Add to that the capability to automate most repetitive jobs, and the really sharp competition between employers for the adaptable and capable potential employee, and there is a bidding war for really good managers and floor people.
Nobody’s job is ever really safe, in that effort may be relaxed upon attaining the position. The question shall always be, “What have you done for me lately?”
I wonder how much the UAW spent and how many union official man hours were spent PER VOTE for each of the 626 votes they received.
I’m sure they spent a fortune in this losing endeavor and the only thing they got to take home was pockets filled with defeat. Props to the Tennessee auto workers—they’re a lot smarter than those in Detroit.
Why do the unions use the term ‘worker’ instead of employee? If more of these schmoozed knew the intent of the union the vote would not have been so close.
The winner here is Chattanooga unless they prefer to end up like Detroit.
The result? A crushing defeat at the polls that prompted state lawmakers to make Michigan a RTW state!
Bob King admitted that he was warned not to put his forced union proposal on the ballot, but like all union thugs, was too stupid to listen.
THRILLED the UAW LOST!
Let freedom ring!
IDEAL HEADLINE: “TENN WORKERS SUCCESSFULLY AVERT BAILOUT-RIDDEN, INSOLVENT, CORRUPT, INCENTIVE DESTROYING, COERCIVE INSTITUTIONAL SCHEME.”
With a closet muslim in the USA White House and muslims turning Europe into an Islamic stronghold there is almost no place on earth, other than Israel, where a Jew can find sanctuary.
Why were auto workers so red hot to join the UAW during the 30s-50s?
The UAW made auto workers some of the best compensated employees in US industry. It wasn’t sustainable, but it was easy to see the attraction.
Same reason the entitlement army voted in Obama.
“...That vote was pretty close and current union members aren’t as unified as the union leadership would like us to believe. In fact Terry Bowman of the Union Conservatives was in Tennessee warning VW employees against joining his union.”
Thanks, I didn’t know about Unionconservatives. Terry Bowman has a lot of guts operating within the “belly of the beast” as he does.
Ubama didn’t pack the NLRB with Alinskyites and break a promise to the GOPe by appointing Richard Griffin, Jr. General Counsel to let a little thing like an honest certification election stand in the way of all those union dues funneling into the DemoncRAT party.