Gov. Haslam denies offering incentives for Volkswagen to reject UAW

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday he has not offered specific incentives for Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant to resist efforts by the United Auto Workers to unionize the factory.

"We did not," Haslam told reporters in Nashville.

The governor, who opposes unionization at the plant, repeated his objections to a union at VW's plant.

"We have said obviously what y'all do there matters to us and as we continue to have the discussion with you about them hopefully having an SUV line in Chattanooga their decision there obviously would be something we would like to discuss with them," he said.

Last week, state House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville told the Times Free Press he was concerned about reports he's heard that sound "almost like [Haslam's] trying to bribe them if they don't bring the union in."

Turner filed a state Open Records Act request seeking documents on any possible overture along those lines.

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The UAW announced last week that a majority of workers at the Chattanooga plant have signed cards supporting being represented by the union in a European-style works council.

Asked if unionization is inevitable, Haslam said, "I certainly wouldn't say that. One of the key issues is around the whole card check issue and does a majority of having card checks the same thing as a secret ballot? Obviously, we believe strongly in the rights of people to vote privately on anything."

Contact Andy Sher at or 615-255-0550.

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