Tennessee Democratic Chairman Roy Herron released the following statement on Thursday in response to the United Auto Workers’ announcement of the formation of a UAW union local at the Chattanooga VW plant and its agreement with Volkswagen to work towards the establishment of a works council at the plant:
"We applaud this development and look forward to cooperation between the United Auto Workers local and Volkswagen to benefit both these workers and this company. I hope that Republican politicians will not continue to interfere in this company’s business and these workers’ opportunities. Such ideological intransigence already has jeopardized the plant’s expansion and threatened one thousand new Tennessee jobs. I call on Governor Haslam and Senators Alexander and Corker to stop risking a thousand new jobs and close the deal before they export those jobs to Mexico.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner (D-Nashville) said, “This is great news for the people of Tennessee. The decision to move forward with a local union that could negotiate a works council could strengthen our state’s position to compete for new auto lines at the Volkswagen Chattanooga auto plant which will grow our economy and provide high-quality, good paying jobs for Tennesseans.
“I would urge Governor Haslam and the Republican leadership in this state to use this opportunity to strengthen and renew our relationship with such a key employer in our state. We have had a great working relationship for decades with GM in Spring Hill, whose workers are represented by the United Auto Workers, so the decision by Volkswagen today should not negatively impact our relationship with that company.
“The ultimate choice on whether to join with the union or works council still rests with the workers. As elected officials, we should not interfere with their legal rights to make this decision, and should pledge to work with the company and their workers regardless of their decision.”