A comment about race and unions on MSNBC touched off a heated debate this morning between The Five co-hosts Bob Beckel and Andrea Tantaros.


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Timothy Noah, a contributing writer for MSNBC, raised eyebrows yesterday by suggesting that race was a factor in a recent vote by Tennessee auto workers against unionization.

The Volkswagen plant employees in Chattanooga voted 712 to 626 against joining the United Auto Workers Union.

"The opposition, I gather, portrayed this as a kind of Northern invasion, a re-fighting of the Civil War. Apparently there are not a lot of black employees in this particular plant, and so that kind of - waving the Confederate flag -  was an effective strategy," said Noah.

Tantaros called it a "really tired, desperate argument" when the issue is really about workers not wanting to lose wages to a union.

Beckel pushed back, saying he knows the area very well and believes a "cultural undercurrent" played a role in the union vote failing.

Watch the debate in the video above. Plus, hear more from Bob and Andrea on The Five, today at 5p ET as the gang goes back and forth on the ignorance of Americans, Jimmy Fallon's debut, the latest on ObamaCare and much more!