published Monday, February 17th, 2014

UAW president says Sen. Bob Corker intimidated Chattanooga VW workers

Should VW workers form a micro-union?

  • photo
    UAW President Bob King speaks with the media inside the Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center after the vote was announced in this file photo.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
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UAW President Bob King said Monday night that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was "100 percent wrong" to try to sway Volkswagen workers not to vote for representation by the United Auto Workers union.

"Sen. Corker entered into the fray just to intimidate workers," King told MSNBC's Ed Schultz. "I've never seen a campaign where politicians have threatened workers and the company."

King said the union is still evaluating its legal options following last week's 712-626 vote by VW hourly workers against the UAW. The UAW head said attorneys are evaluating whether any rules were broken by Corker and other state Republicans when they said that Volkswagen was more likely to expand and Tennessee would grant the German auto maker more incentives if the workers rejected UAW representation.

"Obviously, we had a majority (of workers in favor of the UAW) at one point," King said. "Corker's intimidation and (Gov. Bill) Haslam and the others threatening to take away incentives for the company (if workers joined the union), that really hurt workers and hurt us. I think that had a huge impact (on the election)."

Corker said Saturday he was thrilled by the workers' rejection of the UAW, which he called a "job killing union" interested "strictly in money and power." Corker said it is wrong and unfair for the Detroit-based UAW to call him an outsider when he helped recruit Volkswagen to Chattanooga and regularly talks with company leaders.

Contact Dave Flessner at or 757-6340.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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