Chattanooga Update: Employee Support, Political Opposition

Published September 12th, 2013 -  - 09.12.1310


According to the UAW, a majority of employees at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, TN has signed cards signaling their support for the union and for VW’s “Global Works Council.”  It appears unsettled whether VW will recognize the union based on the cards – as it would be entitled to do – or whether an election will be held.

Meanwhile, a Democratic legislator in Tennessee is asserting that Bill Haslam, the state’s Republican governor, “promised Volkswagen AG additional incentives if the company kept the United Auto Workers union out of its two-year-old Chattanooga plant.”  This follows Tennessee’s Republican Senator, Bob Corker, saying that it is “almost beyond belief” that VW would pursue an agreement with the UAW and that VW could become a “laughingstock . . . if they inflict this wound.”

One wonders why the Republican establishment in Tennessee is so concerned about the possibility of a union at Volkswagen, especially when both the employees and the company seem to want one.  Here’s what Vikas Bajaj wrote in the New York Times today: “The lawmakers say they are worried that a unionized Volkswagen plant would somehow ruin the investment climate in the state and compel other companies not to invest there. A more realistic explanation for why the lawmakers oppose the U.A.W.’s foray into their state is that they fear it will support the state’s Democratic party.”

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