Press Release from the Beacon Center of Tennessee, Feb. 14, 2014
NASHVILLE – The workers at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant today voted against unionization in a monumental decision that will have a lasting and positive impact on the economy of Tennessee. This highly anticipated vote has drawn national attention and triggered a heated debate over whether our right-to-work state would fall prey to pressures of union activists. This result drives a stake into the heart of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) attempt to get a foothold in southern automotive states.
The Beacon Center has been on the frontlines of this battle over individual worker freedoms, having hosted the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore at an event in Chattanooga in January on the UAW’s efforts to unionize the plant. That event also featured outspoken workers’ rights activist Terry Bowman, a 17-year Michigan UAW member. Bowman and Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen recently co-authored an article for the Chattanooga Times Free Press on the pitfalls of unionization, as workers in Chattanooga prepared to cast the deciding vote.
As Owen and Bowman assert, “Workers should absolutely have the opportunity to freely associate with each other and explore with their respective employers ways to improve their workplace and the quality of the products they produce. At the same time, Volkswagen can allow this to happen by using current, non-union workers, instead of insisting that only a UAW represented plant can enter into a works council agreement.”
“We are encouraged by the auto workers’ vote to resist the pressures to unionize, brought on predominantly by outside forces, and instead choose autonomy and self-governance essential to moving a company forward,” says Owen. “In doing so, these workers have championed the spirit of success through hard work that makes Tennesseans proud.” He added, “I hope the union bosses who jet-setted down here have a safe trip home to Detroit.”