Students for Liberty: UAW: Bad for liberty - bad for Tennessee

Students for Liberty: UAW: Bad for liberty - bad for Tennessee

July 14th, 2013 Matthew Benzmiller and Taylor Richards in Opinion

Tennessee is a Red State.

Let's just be honest, the people of Tennessee like their markets free and their government small and off their back.

The United Auto Workers union wants to come into our Volks-wagen plant in Chattanooga. They want to form a union and organize the workers there. Nobody's business but the plant workers, right? Wrong. The UAW would be bad for our freedom, and bad for our economy.

The UAW kills jobs. It's just a fact. Have you seen Detroit lately? The UAW has been in control of Detroit's main industry since the 1940s. It has bankrupted entire car companies (remember General Motors?), nearly bankrupted the entire American auto industry, and therefore led to the loss of thousands of jobs.

People need to understand why Volks-wagen, Nissan and other auto makers have set up plants throughout the Southern right-to-work states: It's because unions are less powerful here and the UAW was less of a threat to their businesses - or so they thought.

But don't take our word for it. According to a 2011 Special Report on the state of the American auto industry conducted by Reuters: "Since 2001, the Detroit Three have slashed over 200,000 jobs, eliminating more than 60 percent of their hourly workforce. In the same period [foreign-owned] automakers have opened eight assembly plants in the United States, creating almost 20,000 factory jobs."

Even UAW president Bob King "concedes the UAW's past mistakes contributed to Detroit's near-demise."

Near demise? Detroit is dead as a doornail and the UAW swung the hammer. This year Forbes ranked Detroit as "America's most miserable city" thanks to its bankrupt city government, decimated industry and sky-high unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official unemployment rate is about 10 percent - way higher than the national average. But unofficially, as many as half of the city's residents are without full-time work according to some estimates.

So bad has Detroit become that people have been fleeing in droves for years: The population has dropped from 1.85 million in 1950 to 700,000 in 2012. The result is a half-empty ghost town, with over 30,000 empty houses and over 90,000 vacant lots. No wonder you can buy a house for a buck - and you would still overpay.

(This is not a joke. You can really buy a house in Detroit for $1. The Guardian reported: "A real estate agent in the northwest [Detroit]...is offering a three-bedroom house on Albany Street for $1.")

So the UAW is bad for the whole economy, no doubt about it. But a lot of people don't know it's also bad for freedom.

The UAW strongly supports left-wing causes and liberal politicians across the nation. In fact, UAW president Bob King brags that he and his "progressive allies" managed to "score a huge victory in November when [they] re-elected President Barack Obama." The UAW, like most unions, support Obamacare, the largest and costliest government intervention in the economy in American history.

Tennessee leans right. In the 2012 presidential election 90 of Tennessee's 95 counties - including Hamilton County - voted for Mitt Romney.

But the UAW is deep blue, in its philosophy, its attitude and in its spending. During the 2012 election cycle, the UAW's Political Action Committee gave $1.6 million to Federal candidates, 99 percent of that went to Democrats according to OpenSecrets.org.

You can bet that the UAW, if it successfully get their foot in the door in Chattanooga, will use its deep pockets to support radical left-wing politicians and policies right here in Hamilton County, just like they have done in Detroit and everywhere else.

It's easy to say that unionization is up to the plant workers, and it's nobody else's business. It is up to the plant workers, but it's also everyone's business.

Matthew Benzmiller is president of Students for Liberty at UTC. Taylor Richards is vice president of Students for Liberty at UTC.