Former Deputy Gov. Claude Ramsey today urged Volkswagen workers to turn back United Auto Workers' efforts at the company's Chattanooga factory, saying that unionizing the plant will hurt efforts to woo more suppliers to the area.
"In fact, many suppliers have already said they will not locate close to the plant if the UAW organizes it, and the further they are, the higher VW's costs will be," he said.
Ramsey, who as Hamilton County mayor helped recruit the automaker to Chattanooga in 2008, said he thinks VW employees ultimately will vote no on a union.
"They have good jobs, with good working conditions, good benefits and good pay," he said. "Why would they choose to change? Why pay dues for something you already have? What is the real benefit of a union?"
Ramsey said he wasn't speaking for Gov. Bill Haslam, but he said he believes the governor feels as he does.
VW's hourly employees are slated to vote on UAW representation next week in a three-day National Labor Relations Board-conducted election.
VW filed for the election Monday and has said it is working with the UAW about prospects to set up a German-style works council at the plant. The company is holding a series of informational meetings today with workers.
The UAW has said that it can create a new standard of representation in the U.S. in the VW plant.
See more in Wednesday's Times Free Press.