House Dems Blast GOP for ‘Intrusion’ in VW Union Vote

Press Release from the Tennessee House Democratic Caucus, Feb. 10, 2014:

GOP statements on Volkswagen vote an unprecedented intrusion into the rights of employers and workers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Democratic lawmakers are blasting comments from Republican officials who are threatening to pull future economic incentive deals for Volkswagen if the employees agree to adopt a workers council supported by the company.

“In my 20 years on the hill, I’ve never seen such a massive intrusion into the affairs of a private company,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “When management and workers agree—as they do at Volkswagen—the state has no business interfering. Words have consequences and these type of threats could have a ruinous effect on our state’s relationships with not just Volkswagen, but all employers.”

According to a report by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Republican State Senator Bo Watson (R-Chattanooga) said that future economic incentives for Volkswagen may not be supported by the legislature if workers vote to accept UAW representation this week.

“This is an outrageous and unprecedented effort by state officials to violate the rights of employers and workers,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner. “Republicans are basically threatening to kill jobs if workers exercise their federally protected rights to organize. When the company says they don’t have a problem with it, what right does the state have to come in and say they can’t do it?”

Voting will take place at Volkswagen starting on Wednesday, February 12th and ending on Friday, February 14th on whether to allow the United Auto Workers to represent workers at the plan. Volkswagen has said they are committed to long-term investment in Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant whether or not workers vote to organize.

BACKGROUND:

Volkswagen Chattanooga has issued the following statement regarding the Company’s long-term commitment to Tennessee:

“Our commitment to Tennessee is a long term investment that creates jobs and new opportunities for growth. Last summer a University of Tennessee study showed that Volkswagen Chattanooga created – in the plant and with suppliers – 12,400 full-time jobs, is responsible for $643.1 million in annual income and has attracted 17 supplier companies to the area.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the State of Tennessee to support job creation, growth, and economic development in Chattanooga today and into the future. The facts remain unchanged: There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees’ decision about whether to be represented by a union and the decision about where to build a new product for the U.S. market.”