published Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Bob Corker: Volkswagen would become a 'laughingstock' for partnering with UAW

Should VW unionize in Chattanooga?

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says Volkswagen would become a “laughingstock” if it goes through with a deal to have the United Auto Workers represent workers at its Chattanooga plant.

The Tennessee Republican told The Associated Press in a phone interview today that he was dismayed when VW last week sent a letter to employees regarding its discussion with the UAW about creating a German-style works council at the Chattanooga plant.

The senator said he hopes Volkswagen pulls back from what he called an “incomprehensible” decision to engage in talks with the UAW. Corker played a large role in persuading VW to build its lone U.S. assembly plant in the city where he was once mayor of Chattanooga.

Corker said the Southeast would become less attractive to foreign automakers if the UAW gains a foothold.

Last week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told the Times Free Press that he has had “several folks recently say that if the UAW comes, that would dampen our enthusiasm for Tennessee.”

VW last week sent a letter to plant employees, reaching out to them after the company and UAW members had confidential talks in Germany about setting up a German-style works council labor board at the factory. VW said in the letter that a works council “can only be realized together with a trade union.”

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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