Pam's Points: Union Lite, new-age discrimination and the shootings count

Pam's Points: Union Lite, new-age discrimination and the shootings count

February 18th, 2014 in Opinion Times

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

The meaning of union words

My, my - what a difference a day and a vote makes.

So U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., is all for a union at Volkswagen as long as it is organized by the employees themselves, without UAW or some "outside" interest.

He calls it a "micro union." Another name might be: Union Lite.

Never mind that U.S. law - contrary to what Corker has said - wouldn't recognize that hybrid "works council" without some new legislation. And, as far as the senator has already stuck his neck out on this one, wouldn't you think in the time VW has been here and been talking about a works council that Sen. Corker would have already floated that legislation if he thought he had the slightest chance of getting it passed?

Get the picture: Big bad UAW had nothing but praise for the very company where union organizers were trying to bring a new 21st century kind of labor collaboration - in the very city that so prides itself on 21st century change. The city where Corker was mayor and brought much of that change about with his massive fund-raising effort to drive Chattanooga's 21st century waterfront.

Go figure, that on the other side of the field, the only people criticizing the company were Corker and fellow Republicans at the state level, along with the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. They termed VW's effort to collaborate with UAW as "cancerous." State Sen. Bo Watson called the company's works council "un-American." Corker said it would be a "laughingstock."

Now with UAW's lost vote, suddenly a works council by another name - micro union or union lite - is a wonderful solution.

But imagine what the establishment reaction would have been to such a workers' uprising before UAW walked into the picture. Let's see now, if these folks who think this is what should have happened all along now want to pony up and help. How? Well, who's going to pay for it? Are VW workers going to put up the money for lawyers to write bylaws and do the negotiating and make sure a micro union idea somehow passes legal muster when apparently it now would be anything but legal?

All of this does sound a little union lite, doesn't it? Let's hope it's not so anemic that we lose jobs over it.

Right to discriminate

Woe is Tennessee. Our lawmakers - even one of our own in Southeast Volville - are advancing a bill to give us a new right. The right to discriminate.

And, we would get to discriminate in (you guessed it) the name of religion.

Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, has picked up the sponsorship of legislation that could make Tennessee the first state in the nation to codify into state law the use of religion to discriminate by allowing cake makers, florists and other vendors to refuse service to same-sex couples who wish to marry, even if the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage is struck down.

The bill says vendors could turn down same-sex ceremonies if they contradict "sincerely held religious beliefs."

So? Businesses shouldn't have to serve customers they don't like? At first blush, who could really argue with that.

But: Doesn't that sound a bit similar to restaurants and hotels that refused some decades back to serve blacks?

Shootings: Where's the cavalry?

A young girl shot in an apartment complex just became the 17th victim in Chattanooga's 16th shooting of 2014.

Mightn't we ratchet up the urgency on the city's Violence Reduction Initiative set to begin in March?