The Spectacle Blog

United Auto Workers: Chattanooga’s Creepy Stalker

By on 7.11.14 | 3:21PM

Have you ever gone on a couple dates with someone, but then decided it just wasn’t going work out? It’s a tough spot to be in, especially when you know they are totally into you and you have to be the one to call it off.

Chattanooga was in that position in February of this year with the United Auto Workers (UAW). Ever since Volkswagen opened its American manufacturing headquarters in Chattanooga in 2011, the UAW has been the city’s heavy-breathing suitor. Give them this: the union has been very persistent. Caving to their determination, Volkswagen finally agreed to go on a few dates.

It never was a fairytale affair by any stretch. Rather, the UAW begged for affection on the grounds that the relationship was a rational fit. More sales than romance, really.

Volkswagen and Chattanooga patiently heard the UAW’s pleas, but finally had to cut things off. There were sighs and pouty faces—and, of course, a last ditch effort to keep their foot in the door—but eventually the union packed up and left town to go cry it out back in Detroit.

The ordeal held the city’s attention and tried its patience for months. And when the suitor was finally rebuffed, a sense of relief swept across Chattanooga.

But now the UAW is back, bouquet in hand. Goodness, this is getting awkward.

On Thursday, the union announced it would set up an unrecognized local, and that it “fully expect[s] that Volkswagen would deal with this local union if it represents a substantial portion of its employees.” Talk about a pushy lovebird. So far, twenty of the plant’s 3,200 employees have joined this social club. That represents a whopping—hold on, let me get my calculator—0.00625 percent of the total workforce.

To nip in the bud the gossip that there is no serious relationship blooming between the parties, Volkswagen was quick to respond that “no formal agreement” has been made. The rebuttal almost read like, “Stop telling people we’re dating, UAW. We’re not!”

Apparently “no” doesn’t mean “no” to the UAW, and now Chattanooga knows what it’s like to have a creepy stalker.

It would be nice if there were self-defense classes for cities. Chattanooga might need to take them.

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