Odd pickets against car dealers

Odd pickets against car dealers

December 7th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville reported recently that the United Auto Workers plans to help promote picketing against the dealerships of non-unionized foreign automakers that have manufacturing plants in the South.

That's a strange tactic, since the dealerships themselves do not employ the workers who actually assemble the vehicles.

But the UAW's timing of the picketing is equally strange.

As you may remember, it wasn't very long ago that the hard-earned dollars of American taxpayers were used to bail out some of the major U.S. automakers.

Those automakers had gotten into financial trouble in part because they had unsustainable union contracts that made them much less competitive with a number of foreign car manufacturers.

The union contracts added massively to the price of each vehicle, and more nimble foreign competitors were able to grab a lot of the market share that U.S. manufacturers had previously enjoyed.

Workers have a legitimate right to unionize, of course -- so long as they do so by their own free choice and not as a result of coercive Big Labor tactics.

But we have to wonder whether workers at Southern car manufacturing plants such as Chattanooga's new Volkswagen facility will be eager to join the UAW after seeing the harm that expensive, inflexible union contracts did to car makers and autoworkers alike in Detroit.