Haslam says address VW woes first before holding Chattanooga union vote

Haslam says address VW woes first before holding Chattanooga union vote

October 27th, 2015 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Governor Bill Haslam speaks Friday, October 1, 2015 at the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga.

Governor Bill Haslam speaks Friday, October 1, 2015...

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

POLL: Should VW maintenance workers unionize?

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said today the "timing isn't great" for maintenance workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant to pursue a new election on exclusive representation by the United Auto Workers given the German manufacturer's struggles amidst a world-wide diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

"Obviously Volkswagen is struggling with a lot of issues right now," the Republican governor told reporters today. "It feels like to me the right time is for everybody to focus on addressing issues that VW has had and then turning around to producing great cars."

The UAW last week sought a new election at the Chattanooga assembly plant on recognition on behalf of 164 full- and part-time maintenance or "skilled trades" employees working at the facility. In February 2014, a larger group of workers at the plant voted 712-626 against the union.

Under a filing with the National Labor Relations Board, the UAW is seeking to hold the two-day election next week.

Asked by reporters when would be a good time for a union, Haslam, who opposed the UAW's effort last year, said "while there's obviously a time for that discussion, it doesn't feel like this is the appropriate time. I think most people would say Volkswagen has some has some major issues to address. Let's get those addressed first."