Union Democrat staff

Dismayed overpoll results

To the Editor:

The National Science Foundation released the results of a survey of 2,200 people last Friday. Two of this poling's findings intrigued me, negatively. The first is that only 26 precent of Americans know/believe that the Earth revolves around the sun; and, the second, only 48 percent of our fellow countrymen know that "human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals."

This astounding degree of ignorance and/or rejection of basic, virtually universally accepted knowledge attained by those learned people, through the centuries, whose very work it is to explore and examine the world (cosmos) around us, as it exists in three-dimensional reality (the fourth being, perhaps, "time"), persuasions I find appalling. I leave it to the reader to speculate as to the probable political persuasions of the two separate categories of citizens indicated by the above statistics.

In closing I quote Isaac Asimov: "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' "

(P.S. I would assume that the National Science Foundation would be quite adept at conducting an accurate poll.)

David A. Fristad


Bully tactics against unionization

To the Editor:

Employees at Volkswagen's new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently cast 626 votes to unionize, 712 employees voted against the proposal. So who lost? I'll tell you who the winners were: Republican Sen. Bob Corker and his friends. They had threatened to thwart any further economic development of the new Volkswagen plant if the employees dared to vote for a union.

Does it matter that VW management had welcomed a union? The company knows from its German base and its other international plants how useful and, yes, beneficial cooperation with a unionized work force can be.

They know because all VW plants worldwide have unions and works councils, in which employees share some of the powers that stockholders have on a company's board of directors. Employees get an insight in, and a minority say on, the company's plans and future developments.

The bottom line is that where there is cooperation, good arguments win, shenanigans lose and unnecessary fights between management and the work force are avoided long before they can erupt, even if a painful action like a reorganization or a layoff becomes necessary.

Some say we don't need lessons from a foreign country and Germany is socialist anyway - nonsense. Third-time chancellor Merkel heads the conservative CDU, which recently scored its best election results since reunification in 1990. The country became the fourth-largest economy in the world on the basis of cooperation and a reasonably well-regulated, not naked, form of capitalism.

In the end not confrontation wins, cooperation does.

Actually, Sen. Corker's threats to block VW's further expansion plans if the workers had succeeded now may backfire. VW's unions are poised to block future expansion plans in Tennessee, costing the state thousands of future jobs.

Klaus Kraemer