published Monday, February 10th, 2014

Pro-UAW VW workers criticize outside groups

Volkswagen workers from the automaker’s Chattanooga plant called for an end to the interference in their election by outside special interest groups and politicians, according to a United Auto Workers statement.

The workers will vote in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday through Friday. Following the election announcement, special interest groups like the National Right to Work Committee, and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform launched an intense campaign in Chattanooga, aimed at swaying the outcome of the vote, said UAW said.

“We feel very fortunate that Volkswagen has committed to remain neutral and let workers make this decision on our own,” said Volkswagen worker Chris Brown. “But it’s really unfair that people who don’t even work at Volkswagen are trying to influence our vote.”

Michael Cantrell, another VW worker, said the automaker “has remained completely neutral and workers, whether for or against the union, are allowed equal access to speak freely, distribute literature and campaign for their beliefs. But the billboards, advertising and press activities by those not even from our community leave a bad taste in my mouth. We also placed our trust in elected officials but they’ve chosen to put their own political interests first and they are interfering in our election too. It’s just not right.”

Volkswagen worker Eric Delacy said outsiders are “pouring money into Chattanooga to try to sway our votes, but they haven’t spent a day in our plant, and don’t know what it’s like to want to have a voice while you work hard to make an honest living. Lobbyists from Washington who are funding this campaign don’t understand that when they pack up and move on to the next fight, we’ll still be here. This is our community, and our workplace – and we should be making the decisions about our future. These outside special interests should leave the vote to those that it actually matters to – the workers and their families.”

UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel said that other politicians should follow the lead of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and “respect these workers’ right to make up their own minds.”

Anti-UAW workers and groups have hit the union and VW, saying that the neutrality agreement has “sold out” VW workers.

See more on UAW Decision in Tuesday’s Times Free Press.

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