Corker Fears UAW Would Have "Dampening Effect" On Chattanooga

Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Senator Bob Corker at VW press conference
Senator Bob Corker at VW press conference
- photo by Hollie Webb

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon, "It's not about union or anti-union, it's about the way the UAW conducts business."

He said, "I know the Volkswagen management would be very open to employees weighing in if they want to form their own union" but that the UAW and similar entities "have been such a destructive force in the automobile industry."

Senator Corker said he decided to speak out after concerns that some of his previous statements had been misconstrued by the UAW. He said, "We had concerns they were using my words inside the plant to support what the UAW was doing."

He told those in the room, "The greatest moment of my career was getting the call that Volkswagen was coming here. It was an incredibly emotional moment." He said he and former County Mayor Claude Ramsey worked for years to ensure the the success of the plant.

Discussing the UAW, he said, "I was very inovled in the auto bailout discussions, I know them well." He said during that time, even the Obama administration "slapped them down."

Senator Corker said, "Their key to survival was to be able to come down and organize the plants in the southeast." He also said the UAW was the biggest shareholder in General Motors, one of Volkswagen's biggest competitors.

He said, "We actually like the Works Council. We love the collaborative approach. We are concerned about the impact an outside entity could have on our community. Look at Detroit."

He said companies had already expressed concern about moving to a state where the UAW was having momentum.

He asked "How many companies from Germany, South Korea, from other parts of the world, are going to Detroit when they begin looking at where they're going to open a plant? I don't think you'll find many."

He said he believed that if the UAW succeeded, they would act well for three to five years, but said, "I know that over time, based on past behavior, they'll do things to damage this community."

He also pointed out that the Volkswagen employees had little to gain from the UAW in terms of wages, saying they already had higher wages than any plant that has worked with the UAW. He also said their working facility was one of the "finest in the world."

He said, "I have tremendous empathy for the employees. They're in the middle in some ways of something that is much bigger than what's happening at the plant."

He also expressed concern that employees were not able to hear both sides because of a neutrality agreement that the Volkswagen management is in. He said, "I'm absolutely convinced, if local management could just voice their concerns, the UAW would never win."

However, he said, "We don't care about the UAW in the scope of things, we care about the community."

He said, "I"m sorry to express so much passion on this issue, but I love this community. I love living here. I love driving across the railroad tracks into downtown."

He said, "For 25 years now our community has been on an upward march. It's been incredible how people from all walks of life have come together to take our community to where it is today."

He told the audience he wanted Chattanooga to keep making progress but that he was concerned the UAW would have a "dampening affect" on this.

"We're concerned that if they come in and actually win this election, it's something that we can overcome, but it's something that will hurt businesses and the standard of living here."

He said, "I care deeply that those who come after us have a a better future and a better way of life."

 


SUV Lands On Its Top On East Third Street Near High Street

A tan SUV was flipped on its top on East Third Street going up the steep hill toward High Street late Thursday afternoon. The female driver was extracted from the vehicle and rushed to nearby Erlanger Hospital. It is believed that her injuries were not life-threatening. Her vehicle apparently brushed against a Budget rental truck. (click for more)

Lupi's Given 3-Day Beer License Suspension At Ooltewah Unit After 1st Serving Infraction In 18 Years

The first Lupi’s restaurant in Chattanooga opened downtown in 1996. Since then three additional locations have been added in Chattanooga and one in Cleveland. In those 18 years none of the restaurants have been cited before the Chattanooga Beer Board for a violation. That clean record did not stop the board from issuing a three-day penalty to the restaurant located at 9453 Bradmore ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Coaches Vs. ‘Top 25’ Foes

The long-accepted measuring stick for a college football coach has been his win-loss record, with an after-glance at his win-loss record within his conference. But in Wednesday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal, writer David Everson, with the help of Stats LLC, used a much-tougher litmus test when he revealed the records of 65 major-college coaches against opponents that were ... (click for more)

East Ridge's JoJo Tillery Relies Heavily On His Football MoJo

(This is the 15th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area) The numbers don’t lie. East Ridge quarterback JoJo Tillery can be a nightmare for defensive coordinators. Do they make him run? Or do they want him throw the football? Pick your poison, fellas. ... (click for more)

UTC's Jay Hay Has Found a Football Home

“Without a doubt, I cannot think of a place I would rather be than here at UTC playing football. The veteran players welcomed me this summer as a junior college transfer with open arms.” UTC defensive back Jay Hay It’s been a crazy, at times frustrating and difficult, four-year football journey for Dade County, Fla. native Jeremiah “Jay” ... (click for more)