Governors of six Southern states warn workers against joining the UAW union – The Washington Post

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Governors of six Southern states warn workers against joining the UAW union – The Washington Post

In a high-profile attempt to prevent unionization of their states’ auto plants, governors of six Southern states warned their residents that joining the United Auto Workers would threaten jobs and “the values ​​by which we live “.

The Republican governors’ joint statement comes just a day before a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., votes on whether to join the UAW — the first of a dozen plants the union is targeting across the South so that he tries to break. out of its Midwest stronghold.

“The reality is that businesses have a choice when it comes to where to invest and create jobs and opportunity,” wrote the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. “Unionization would certainly put our states’ jobs at risk.”

The remarkable intervention follows signs of optimism among pro-union workers at the VW plant, who have expressed hope in recent days that the vote will pass. It begins Wednesday and lasts three days, with results expected Friday evening.

“They’re so scared,” UAW strategist Chris Brooks. wrote on social media as he reposted Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s comment about the statement. The union did not otherwise comment.

An economist who has closely studied unionization in the South called the statement “unprecedented and shocking” and said it discouraged workers from exercising their legal right to organize.

“This implies that governors fear that the UAW will prevail in the next union recognition election and that the UAW’s success could upend their economic models based on relatively low wages and minimal worker voice,” he said. said Stephen Silvia, a professor at American University, via email. .

Tennessee Republicans helped thwart two attempts by the UAW to unionize the VW plant, in 2014 and 2019, and have stepped up their opposition in recent weeks with news conferences and public statements. During a visit to Chattanooga this month, Gov. Bill Lee said joining the union would be “a big mistake.”

Some posts emphasize that the UAW supports President Biden and has long-standing ties to the Democratic Party.

“We have serious reservations about the ability of UAW leaders to represent our values. They proudly call themselves Democratic Socialists and seem more focused on re-electing President Biden than killing auto workers’ jobs in the factories they already represent,” the governors wrote.

Some VW employees told The Washington Post this month that they wanted politicians to stay out of the matter and leave it to employees.

Democratic politicians have expressed support for the UAW. Democratic senators from Tennessee criticized Republican governors on social media on Tuesday. “Southern auto workers are ready to make history this week. #Stand Up, Chattanooga! » » posted Senator London Lamar.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, whose state is facing a UAW organizing effort at a Toyota plant in Georgetown, said the social networks last week that unions have improved workers’ living standards and that he was “proud to stand side by side” with the UAW.


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