Corker Now Expects Chattanooga Will Get Volkswagen's SUV Line

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Senator Bob Corker
Senator Bob Corker

Senator Bob Corker said Saturday he expects, now that Chattanooga Volkswagen employees chose not to join the United Auto Workers union, that the local plant will get a second line.

He said at a press conference at the EPB Building, "Hopefully, an announcement will be made."

Senator Corker said he has spoken with top VW officials since the close vote was announced on Friday night. He said more talks are set by phone later this week.

On his reaction to the historic vote outcome, he said, "I couldn't even sleep I was so excited for the employees and for this community."

He said it was ironic that he was referred to as an "outsider" in giving his views on the vote, noting that as mayor he helped bring Volkswagen to Chattanooga.

If he had not spoken out, he said, "I would have had tremendous remorse."

Senator Corker said the outcome was remarkable since he said the UAW had been working to unionize the plant for two years and had direct access to the employees. He praised some employees "who made sure that the other side of the issue got out" and he said staff member Todd Womack of Chattanooga "did an incredible job" in helping with the issue.

He said he does not believe there is "a new UAW." He said, "There is so much difference in the culture at Spring Hill and the culture at Volkswagen."

He said the UAW is "in a death spiral" and at Chattanooga it  "saw 1,500 dues payers."

He added, "To them this is about money. To us it's about this community."

Senator Corker said he does not oppose a "works council" at the local plant and believes that may still come about. He said if the UAW had gotten in, "all those options would have gone away."   

Saying it was "a great ending," he said he expects employees at the plant "graciously will reach out to one another." 

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