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Upcoming UAW Vote at VW Concerns TN Senate Labor, Commerce Cmte Heads

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; February 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn, (February 10, 2014) — The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Tennessee’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee today expressed concern regarding the United Auto Workers (UAW) upcoming vote in Chattanooga, saying a vote for organized labor would harm Tennessee’s reputation as a business-friendly state and reverse the state’s recent progress in automobile-related job growth.

Chairman Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Vice-Chairman Mark Green (R-Clarksville) said the General Assembly has worked in concert with Governors Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam for the past several years to move forward policies to support Tennessee’s competitive standing in growing and expanding new and better paying jobs in the state. The lawmakers said that pending decisions of VW employees are of statewide interest at a pivotal time when Tennessee stands currently as a national leader in job creation.

“We greatly value our auto workers, both in Middle Tennessee and in Southeast Tennessee,” said Senator Johnson, a businessman whose legislative district is home to the General Motors Spring Hill plant and Nissan’s North America headquarters.

“Our communities are very similar with great neighborhoods, schools that focus on achievement and a local economy that is envied by many. The automotive industry is a very important part of the quality of life we enjoy.” “As Chattanooga workers vote on the United Auto Workers presence, it is a decision that transcends just one community,” he added. “There is tremendous competition for job growth among states. A vote for organized labor would impede our daily efforts to benefit Tennessee families as we compete nationally in job growth. I ask that Chattanooga lead to honor Tennessee’s competitive spirit so we can continue moving our state’s job growth forward. Chattanooga workers, we don’t need the UAW in our state.”

“In business, reputation means a lot,” added Senator Green, who is a practicing physician and businessman who represents the more rural Clarksville region that competes with industry across the state-line of Kentucky. “Tennessee has developed a reputation of a top location for families and businesses because of the lower cost of living, commitment to an educated workforce and folks keeping more of our wages by holding taxes low.”

“Volkswagen chose our state and your community for important reasons: Chattanooga workers have a great reputation of a great work ethic and make an excellent product. That reputation has been yours without the United Auto Workers,” he continued. “The free market that VW chose in our state produces competition, empowers employees far more than a labor union, and keeps bringing jobs to Tennessee.” The United Auto Workers vote is scheduled for Wednesday, February 12 through Friday, February 14 at the Volkswagen site in Chattanooga.

$1.4M Investment Adds 33 Jobs Manufacturing Critter Products

Press Release from Rep. Mike Harrison (R-Rogersville); Jan. 19, 2012:

Pet Products Manufacturer to Create 33 New Jobs in Hawkins County

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Earlier today, Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty joined with Ware Manufacturing, Inc. representatives to announce the company’s decision to expand its Surgoinsville facility. The expansion represents an investment of nearly $1.4 million and the creation of 33 manufacturing jobs in Hawkins County.

Representative Mike Harrison (R—Rogersville) released the following statement about the expansion:

“This is great news for our area. Countless studies show the best way to get our economy back on track is for existing businesses to expand and grow their assets. Ware Manufacturing is an important part of our community and I am proud they are devoting more resources to strengthen their presence in Hawkins County.”

Ware Manufacturing, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of pet products with facilities in Surgoinsville, Tenn. and Phoenix, Ariz. The company’s Surgoinsville facility is located in the Phipps Bend Industrial Park.

Governors Visit TN, Focus on Jobs

Governors attending a regional summit of the National Governors Association in Nashville Monday see themselves as being on the front line of job creation in America.

They also see a federal government that is not.

“Our states can be great laboratories for democracy at how we can solve some of our nation’s problems,” Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma said. “I get really frustrated that Washington doesn’t always deal with solutions to the problems. They spend a lot of time being partisan, debating, but here in our states we’re able to work on those exact solutions to help bring some ideas forth.”

The official theme of the NGA initiative headed by Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska is “Growing State Economies.” Heineman is addressing what he says is the foremost issue facing the nation.

Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi went right at Washington for taking its eye off the ball, in his estimation.

“Governors are more focused on job creation and economic growth than anybody else in government because we deal with it on a daily basis,” Barbour said. “When jobs are lost in Mississippi or Oklahoma or Tennessee or Nebraska, the governor knows about it the day it happens.

“When jobs are created, we also are the first ones to try to get out there and pat the people on the back and tell them they need to do more of it. Unfortunately, the federal government is not focused enough on job creation. For the first few years of this administration, most of the time was spent on health care.”

Barbour said it is a case of a “more-than-one-year-long absorption of the federal government’s attention to create a government-run health care system that is going to make health care more expensive.

“Ironically, the effect of that on job creation, our No. 1 priority, is that when employers don’t understand and have no way of knowing the obligations and costs of providing health care for their employees, how do they create more jobs?”

Uncertainty has been one of the key elements of economic discussions across the nation. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who hosted the summit at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, has repeatedly noted a lack of confidence both among potential employers who would have to risk capital and consumers who are reluctant to spend in the current environment.

But there seemed to be agreement among the four governors at the summit that government’s role is not to create jobs but simply create an environment conducive to job growth.

That theme played out in references to too much government regulation and the value of tort reform. But in Haslam’s own state, there has been debate about the premise that government cannot create jobs.

Democrats have conducted a “jobs tour” across the statelooking for ideas on the heels of a legislative session in which they offered a package of jobs bills. The fundamental difference in approaches does not appear likely to go away. But neither will the overwhelming Republican majority in the General Assembly, meaning many of the Democrats’ efforts will be an uphill climb for them.

The governors did find other topics apart from bashing Washington. One favorable trend they see is that due to the price of transportation and a lessening of the wage gap, jobs that had gone overseas are beginning to return to the United States. They also see the ability of small businesses to grow as a key factor in job growth.

But then there was an old-fashioned sense of patriotic optimism as well.

“What was it, 20 years ago, Japan was going to take over the world? The United States was going to lose its competitive edge,” Heineman said. “We won that one. We’re going to win this one, too.”

Herron Excited about Northwest Tennessee Port and Industrial Park

Statement from Sen. Roy Herron; March 14, 2011:

DRESDEN – State Senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden) expressed deep appreciation to Governor Bill Haslam for including funding for the Northwest Tennessee Port and Industrial Park.

“In every one of the several conversations we’ve had about the Port and Industrial Park, Governor Haslam has understood the enormous need, particularly with Goodyear closing,” Herron said. “His actions can bring the port to reality and can bring literally thousands of jobs to our region.”