Grieving AP Virtually Dares GOP to Create More Jobs in Tenn. After UAW Loss at VW-Chattanooga

February 17th, 2014 11:41 PM

The folks at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, are really having a hard time processing the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee workers in an election held last week. AP journalists, who themselves are members of the News Media Guild, are exhibiting characterstics of still partially being in Stage 1 (Denial) but mostly Stage 2 (Anger) of the grieving process.

A Monday evening report by Tom Krisher and Erik Schelzig comes off more as a "put up or shut up" dare to those who opposed UAW representation than anything resembling objective reporting. The pair wants to know what Republicans are going to do achieve job growth in the wake of the UAW loss. The obvious response is that despite well-known federally-imposed regulatory barriers to job growth, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam and the Volunteer State's GOP-controlled legislature have been doing a far better than average job, if you will, of creating a conducive atmosphere for payroll employment growth in the state. But first, let's visit our in-mourning AP reporters and headline writer (bolds are mine):

After UAW defeat, can GOP fulfill promise of jobs?

Republicans fighting a yearslong unionization effort at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee painted a grim picture in the days leading up to last week's vote. They said if Chattanooga employees joined the United Auto Workers, jobs would go elsewhere and incentives for the company would disappear.

Now that workers have rejected the UAW in a close vote, attention turns to whether the GOP can fulfill its promises that keeping the union out means more jobs will come rolling in, the next great chapter in the flourishing of foreign auto makers in the South.

Regardless of what political consequences, if any, Republicans would face if that fails to happen, the Volkswagen vote established a playbook for denying the UAW its goal of expanding into foreign-owned plants in the region, which the union itself has called the key to its long-term future.

... The German automaker's CEO, Martin Winterkorn, announced at the Detroit auto show last month that the seven-passenger SUV will go on sale in the U.S. in 2016. Winterkorn said the new model will be part of a five-year, $7 billion investment in North America.

Winterkorn said Volkswagen is committed to its goal of selling 1 million vehicles per year in the U.S. by 2018. The company sold just over half that many in 2013.

Given the company's ambitious growth target, one would think that the chances of expansion at the Chattanooga plant are pretty good.

In between the excerpted paragraphs above, the AP pair rehashed the complaints about "outside intervention" (aka the exercise of their right to free speech) by Senator Bob Corker and other Tennessee politicians which will likely be used as the basis for any appeal of the result to the Obama administration's National Labor Relations Board. Consistent with at least three other reports they have filed since the election results came out Friday evening (discussed here, here, and here in previous NewsBusters posts), likely News Media Guild members Krisher and Schelzig "somehow" ignored the "outside" intervention of President Obama Friday morning.

According to a Reuters report, Obama, in a statement clearly intended to be leaked, "said everyone was in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen except for local politicians who 'are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.'" As I noted on Sunday, that bizarre contention ignores two quite salient facts. First, the company itself, and therefore at least by implication its shareholders, wanted the UAW to win. Second, VW is a global publicly traded company with shareholders all over the world, including in the U.S., who financiallly benefit when the company prospers.

As to whether "jobs will come rolling in" because the UAW has been turned back, the best answer would be to look at how the state has done in creating jobs since nationwide employment hit its trough in February 2010.

In a result which may surprise many readers, Tennessee, through November 2013, had the sixth-best record of payroll employment growth in the country during the previous 45 months:


Those November figures (since revised, but not by enough to meaningfully change the comparative results) showed the Volunteer State with 2.772 million payroll jobs — 182,000 more than the 2.590 million it had in February 2010.

Given that track record, it's not out of line to contend that Krisher, Schelzig, and the AP's headline writer have a lot of flippin' gall questioning Tennessee employers' ability to continue doing what they have been doing in a relatively business-friendly environment just because its faves at the UAW lost an organizing election.

But I guess we're going to have to endure them and others in the establishment press as they progress through the grieving process.

Cross-posted at