Round One To The Good Guys

Last week the workforce at the Volkswagen Plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to unionize. That is potentially a big deal. You might question the use of the modifying word “potentially”. I’ll explain, and then some, below.

I’m a pro-union guy. I grew up in the most blue collar suburb of Buffalo, New York where the dads with the good jobs worked at either the auto plants or the steel mills. (Back then it was sort of an Ozzie and Harriet time period where the moms stayed at home with the kids.) My high school was on the town’s de facto main street which was named Union Road.

President Biden embraces the nicknames of “Middle class Joe” and “Scranton Joe”. I can certainly understand why. I’m glad for the first time in decades we have a leader in the White House who frequently talks about good union jobs. Biden loves to use the line, “Wall Street didn’t build this country, the middle class did – and unions built the middle class” in his speeches. It is not rhetoric; he believes it, and so do I.

Trickle down is a joke that many economically ignorant fools on the right still profess. You build an economy from the middle out, not the top down. Giving money to people who need a passport to visit the abundance of money they already have doesn’t grow an economy; getting it to people who I will spend it does. It’s a demand, not supply, driven economy. If it were a supply driven economy you could simply build anything and everything would sell. No entity would ever fail. In fact, for decades during both good and bad economic times alike 70% of the American economy is consumer demand.

The vote in Tennessee is just the most recent win for organized labor. But it is simply the first, albeit crucial, step. Getting a contract is another battle and if history, including recent history, is any guide it will not be easily won.

The UAW, under the leadership of its President Shawn Fain, already has its next goal set. The UAW has an organizing vote scheduled for next month at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama.

If his success continues and other unions also post “winning records” (undefeated isn’t going to happen) Fain will go down in the annals of American history as a legendary union leader. Joe Biden claims to be and is America’s most pro-union – and in the process most pro-Average Joe and Jane – president. From somebody who grew up in a paycheck to paycheck working class household I just want to wish them both luck this year and beyond along with thanking them for their life’s work to date.

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