Former Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey said in a press conference Tuesday morning about a possible union at the Volkswagen plant, "If I thought UAW would be beneficial to the employees at Volkswagen, I would say that. But their track record doesn't show it."
He also said he believes Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is of the same frame of mind.
He said, "It's a real concern about being able to bring suppliers close by, when they don't want to be part of the UAW."
Mr. Ramsey read the following statement:
"I hope the employees at VW will vote to maintain their current way of doing business, and this is without a union.
"These employees came to work for VW without a union and have been recognized for building an award-winning automobile. Now they must choose whether to let UAW into the Volkswagen plant. They have good jobs, with good working conditions, good benefits and good pay. Why would they choose to change? Why pay dues for something you already have? What is the real benefit of a union?
"Volkswagen says they need to reduce expenses in their supply chain as they move forward. Will the UAW help do that? I think not. In fact, many suppliers have already said they will not locate close to the plant if the UAW organizes it, and the further they are the higher VW's costs will be.
"It's the employees' decision and they should be able to make that decision on their own without coercion from either side. If so, I believe the employees of VW will vote to stay their course and vote NO on the UAW."
He ended the meeting, saying how the development of the Volkswagen plant had been an important part of his life. He said, "I worked for 15 years to get that site and to get Volkswagen here. It's important for the community. It's important that they build quality cars that they're able to sell. It's important that their employees are treated fairly."
He said, "Let the employees decide."