Consider the case of Bob Corker, the Republican senator from Tennessee, and Volkswagen, the German automaker that employs 2,000 workers at a plant in Chattanooga. As my colleague Steven Greenhouse reported last week, the company is working with the United Auto Workers on a plan to unionize its factory so it can establish what is known as a “works council” in Germany.
In an interview with the Associated Press, he called Volkswagen’s decision to engage in these talks “incomprehensible” and said the company would become a “laughingstock in the business world” if it went ahead with the plan.
The lawmakers say they are worried that a unionized Volkswagen plant would somehow ruin the investment climate in the state and compel other companies not to invest there. A more realistic explanation for why the lawmakers oppose the U.A.W.’s foray into their state is that they fear it will support the state’s Democratic party.
The strangest thing about Mr. Corker’s and Mr. Haslam’s criticism of Volkswagen is that Republicans are usually on the ones telling everybody else in government not to meddle in the affairs of profit-making businesses. After all, it’s their mantra that businesses, not lawmakers, create jobs. But I guess none of that matters in this case because even a company as successful and profitable as Volkswagen, which is competing with Toyota and General Motors to be the world’s largest automaker, must be deluded if it’s entertaining the possibility of working with a dreaded union.
The hypocrisy is apparent. What is less apparent is the fact that TN's economy isn't exactly booming. We are in no position to turn down companies that want to develop jobs in the state. But as with the decision to not expand Medicaid, TN Republicans are showing that they don't really care about the well-being of the people. They only care about making ridiculous ideological statements. These people are an absolute disgrace. It's a shame no one can seriously challenge them electorally because until then the people of TN will continue to get screwed.