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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Press Coverage of UAW's VW-Chattanooga Loss 'Somehow' Overlooks One 'Outside Influence': President Obama -- By Tom Blumer, NewsBusters

The three Associated Press reports I've seen on the UAW's failure to win the right to represent hourly workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee — the first two were covered in NewsBusters posts here and here; the wire service's 3:52 p.m. report is here — all mention in one way or another what UAW President Bob King is now calling "unprecedented outside interference" in the runup to the election. (VW, which can only run the factory with the kind of "workers councils" it has at its other worldwide plants in the U.S. if its workers are represented by an outside union, supported the UAW's efforts.)

But AP reporters Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig, as well as panelists discussing the aftermath on Melissa Harris-Perry's MSNBC program this morning, "somehow" ignored the "outside interference" of the person who holds the most powerful political office on earth. That's right. President Obama, whose National Labor Relations Board conducted the election, weighed in on Friday morning with statements at a "closed door" meeting which were clearly designed to be leaked. Here is what Richard Cowan and Bernie Woodall at Reuters reported on Friday morning (HT Gateway Pundit):
Obama weighs in on contentious union vote at Volkswagen plant
VWchattanoogaNoUAWandObama
President Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG's plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.
Obama's comments, made at a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, came as the vote to allow union representation at the Chattanooga plant drew to a close.
The vote will have wide-reaching implications for the auto industry in the South, where all foreign-owned assembly plants employ nonunion labor, and for the United Auto Workers union, which could use a victory to reverse a decades-long downward spiral.
The vote has faced fierce resistance from local Republican politicians and national conservative groups who have warned that a UAW victory could hurt economic growth in Tennessee. While voting was under way on Wednesday, Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker said VW could announce new investment in the plant if the UAW lost the secret ballot.
Facing accusations that he was seeking to influence the ballot process, Corker defended his statement as "true and factual" in an interview with Reuters, despite Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga, saying that there was "no connection" between the vote and the possible investment.
Obama's interjection in the war of words on Friday, albeit behind closed doors, underscored how much is stake in the three-day vote by VW's 1,550 hourly workers. The vote is due to end at 8:30 p.m. ET and the results could be announced soon after that.
Obama said everyone was in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen except for local politicians who "are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers," according to a Democratic aide who attended the meeting with Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

There was still plenty of time left to vote on Friday, the third day of balloting at the plant, when Obama made his statements. The result is not considered truly official until Obama's National Labor Relations Board, which according to the video announcement after the election actually counted the votes, certifies the results.

Post-election, why isn't what Obama said being reported, and then framed as failed "outside interference"? It certainly should be seen as just that if the union attempts to appeal the election result to Obama's NLRB based on local politicians' statements.

The President's reference to politicians supposedly "being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers" is either odd or ignorant, given the fact that the company itself essentially invited the UAW in. Also, last time I checked, sir, anyone in the world can own VW stock. Anything which might be good for Volkswagen would be good for all of its worldwide shareholders.

The press's failure to mention Obama's interjection conveniently spares him embarrassment for having advocated for the losing side. I'm reasonably confident that if the UAW had won, some of the credit would have gone to Obama's "powerful personal influence."

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