UAW official defends GM plant in Tennessee

UAW official defends GM plant in Tennessee

February 12th, 2014 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

United Auto Workers, UAW, logo

United Auto Workers, UAW, logo

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

The head of the United Auto Workers' local at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., says the factory is growing, and he discounted criticism about the union's impact on the economy there.

Mike Herron, chairman of UAW Local 1853, said in a statement that the union has had "a very positive impact" on economic development in the Tennessee.

The assembly plant, which was idled during the economic crisis, is only operating today because the UAW negotiated to re-open the plant in 2011 collective bargaining, Herron said.

"Our collective bargaining agreement resulted in a $350 million investment from GM and more than 1,800 jobs at plant and thousands more at businesses that support Spring Hill," said Herron, who served for three years as co-chair of Spring Hill's economic development organization at the request of the former mayor.

He said GM will add at least another 1,800 jobs with the addition of two new products at the plant.

"GM does not have any problem attracting suppliers to Tennessee or getting incentives from the state. When you're going to bring 2,000 jobs to the state, people are interested in participating. There's no shortage of elected officials who are eager to be a part of that process," he said.

Herron's remarks come as workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant start voting today through Friday on whether to recognize the UAW.

In the days leading up to the election, some people, including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, have said that the union will make it harder to recruit suppliers to the Chattanooga area.

See more on the UAW Decision in Thursday's Times Free Press.