A lot of people considered this campaign pretty key for UAW getting a foothold in the newer plants that have sprung up across the South over the past few decades. If you've driven through Alabama recently, you may have noticed the anti-union billboards placed along I-20 aimed at workers headed to or away from the Mercedes Benz plant near Tuscaloosa. It was thought that if UAW could take advantage of the opportunity at this Tennessee plant then... well... it didn't work out.
The reasons it didn't work out are complicated arising partially from lingering echoes of "Old South" politics but moreso from the ever present threat of mobile capital which, of course, is the reason these facilities are even opening in these labor-unfriendly states while Detroit continues to rot. Anyway, it's all in that post which is why I'm linking to it in the first place.
But I wanted to highlight this little bit on strategy which should resonate anyone who pays attention to effective politics.
But in any case, the usual union victory results from dissatisfied workers organizing with demands. That really wasn’t the case here. To quote a union organizer friend of mine, “If the vote becomes “Can we trust the Union?” instead of “Should we unite to solve our problems?”, the boss wins.” I think this is fundamentally what this vote was about.It's important to have principles, of course, but relating those principles to how they address people's specific problems is how you move votes.