The United Auto Workers on Friday filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board, saying that interference from Senator Bob Corker and others swayed the election at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant against the UAW.
The UAW took a narrow loss in the election a week ago.
Senator Corker, as well as former County Mayor Claude Ramsey, state Senator Bo Watson and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, held press conferences urging rejection of the UAW. Senator Watson said the state would be wary of continuing to help VW if the UAW got in.
Senator Corker said he was advised by top VW officials that Chattanooga would get a second VW line if the union did not get in.
Senator Corker said, “The workers at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant spoke very clearly last week, so we are disappointed the UAW is ignoring their decision and has filed this objection. Unfortunately, I have to assume that today's action may slow down Volkswagen’s final discussions on the new SUV line. This complaint affirms the point many of us have been making: that the UAW is only interested in its own survival and not the interests of the great employees at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen facility nor the company for which they work.”
As mayor of Chattanooga from 2001-2005, Senator Corker said he worked with officials and community leaders to develop the 1,200-acre Enterprise South Industrial Park, which is now home to Volkswagen's North American manufacturing headquarters. Much of the negotiation that led to Volkswagen choosing Chattanooga occurred around the dining room table of Corker’s Chattanooga home, it was stated.
Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Labor laws are written to allow employees to decide whether they want a union, not to ensure that unions win. For 30 years, 10s of thousands of new auto jobs have raised Tennessee family incomes and our workers have decided in almost every case that they are better off union-free. The UAW may not like this, but that is the right of employees in a right-to-work state like Tennessee.”