Volkswagen Chattanooga management said Saturday that "outside political groups" would not divert VW in connection with the upcoming controversial employee vote on whether the plant will be unionized.
VW has worked well with unions in the past and will continue to do so if the employees vote to join the United Auto Workers, it was stated.
Top VW management said the decision is up to the workers, and VW will respect either decision.
Former County Mayor and Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey last week held a press conference urging the workers not to vote for the union. Legislative leaders, including Gerald McCormick and Bo Watson, plan a similar press conference on Monday. Senator Bob Corker has strongly decried the union move.
Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and Chairman Frank Fischer said, "Volkswagen America is committed to innovation and productivity in its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to serve its American customers in the best way possible. The jobs we've created here and the future we're building together go hand in hand. Our commitment to Tennessee is a long term investment.
"The Volkswagen Group is proud of its record of cooperation and co-determination between employees, management and the communities in which we live and work. Our Works Councils are key to our success and productivity. It is a business model that helped to make Volkswagen the second largest car company in the world. Our plant in Chattanooga has the opportunity to create a uniquely American Works Council, in which the company would be able to work cooperatively with our employees and ultimately their union representatives, if the employees decide they wish to be represented by a union.
“Volkswagen America has been fortunate to have strong local partners here in Chattanooga and we will continue to work with them as we move forward together.”
Volkswagen Chattanooga Vice President for Human Resources Sebastian Patta said, "Volkswagen America understands how important openness and transparency are in the workplace. Democracy is an American ideal, and being open with our employees is a central pillar of our Works Councils. Volkswagen’s commitment to these values is one of the reasons why, although the law allowed us to recognize the UAW without an election on the basis of a card check, we asked the NLRB to conduct this election. A secret ballot, one-worker-one-vote election furthers our values at Volkswagen America and will help us grow stronger in the future with our employees.
"Outside political groups won't divert us from the work at hand: innovating, creating jobs, growing, and producing great automobiles. Fact is: Our employees are free to discuss and state their opinions at the plant and to distribute campaign materials, including flyers and other literature, irrespective of whether they are in favor of or against a union. We wish to point out that our employees who are against union representation as well as those in favor have consistently taken advantage of and exercised these rights. Volkswagen America is committed to defending our employees’ legal right to make a free choice. It is their decision. Volkswagen America will respect whatever choice they make.”