Gov. Haslam: A Unionized VW Plant Would Scare Away Other Automakers

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the VW grand opening in Chattanooga shortly after being elected to office in 2011. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr
Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at the VW grand opening in Chattanooga shortly after being elected to office in 2011. Credit: TN Photo Services via Flickr

Tennessee’s governor says the United Auto Workers would run off other car manufacturers if they organize at Volkwagen’s Chattanooga plant. UAW leaders are reportedly in talks with VW about unionizing.

Governor Bill Haslam has always discouraged VW from working with a union in Chattanooga, but now – according to Automotive News – expanding the plant may hinge on organizing.

German labor officials who approve company decisions say they won’t sign off on adding a second assembly line in Tennessee unless workers are represented. Haslam says the potential union presence is a bigger issue than just VW.

“We want to see them grow there. We’re not going to have some big showdown over that issue. Depends on who you talk to at Volkswagen exactly where they stand on that issue. But we have made it clear to them that as other manufacturers are talking about moving to Tennessee, that they do say it’s a big question mark to them.”

The UAW does represent workers at the General Motors facility in Spring Hill. But the union has been unable to organize at any foreign auto plants in the south.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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