The lines stopped at Tennessee’s Volkswagen factory today as workers were forced to attend an all-plant captive audience meeting with the state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee.
A recording of the governor’s speech, obtained by Labor Notes, reveals a raucous meeting in which the governor tried to praise workers while encouraging them to vote against the union.
“The anti-union campaign has begun,” said a Volkswagen worker, who asked to not be identified due to fear of being targeted by management.
Before each shift, the 1,700 workers at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory attend mandatory meetings where they do stretches while supervisors read updates from the company’s “JumpStart” newsletter.
This morning, the supervisors read something new: anti-union talking points.
The gloves are off in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Employees showing up to work this morning at the country's sole Volkswagen plant were read a letter from the company's top management expressing their opposition to unionization.
I talk with labor activists all across the country. Plenty are inspired by strikes that happen elsewhere. But over and over I hear the same excuse for why they can’t make big demands or go on strike themselves: “It’s different here.”
How is it different? Pick your poison: It’s the South. It’s the public sector. It’s illegal. Our union leaders would never support us. Everyone is too scared. Too apathetic.
This year, the teacher union movement is supplying the best reply to “It’s different here.” Here’s what we’ve seen in 2019 so far: