Tennessee’s GOP governor is making it clear whose side he is on in the Volkswagen organizing drive.
“Gov. Bill Lee said last week he hopes that workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga will vote down the union organizing campaign underway by the United Auto Workers.
Lee said during a visit to Chattanooga on Thursday that an influx of labor unions to Tennessee will hurt the state’s economic competitiveness.
‘One of the things I am most responsible for as governor is economic development, and the recruitment of companies to our state for the expansion and development of jobs,’ Lee said. ‘The reality is that it is more difficult to recruit companies to states that have higher levels of organized [labor] activity. That is why, I think, it is in the best interest of the workers at Volkswagen — and really for the economics of our state — that Volkswagen stay a merit [non-union] shop.’
But a UAW spokesman said the union already has “a rich history” in Tennessee, citing the General Motors production plant in Spring Hill.
‘The governor must have forgotten the UAW and the GM local,’ said Brian Rothenberg of UAW International. ‘The governor must have forgotten the hug he gave to [UAW Local 1853 Chairman] Mike Herron at the GM plant earlier this year.’
A new union election at the Chattanooga VW factory will take place June 12-14, the third vote at the plant since 2014. That year, the UAW lost by a margin of 712 to 626.”
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