By on April 28, 2014


After backing out from its appeal over results of the February 2014 organization election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, the United Auto Workers is considering options to organize the plant, just as Volkswagen itself is considering several options outside of Tennessee for its new SUV.

The Detroit News reports VW attorney Alex Leath sent an email in late January 2014 to Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development during negotiations over incentives to build the SUV in Tennessee that, while there were “non-deal” issues delaying “the TN solution,” the automaker had been successful in “reaching agreement on terms” at a number of unidentified locations. Leath also had been drafting a memorandum of understanding which included proposed incentive figures from several months prior. Amid opposition toward the UAW establishing a presence in the plant by Republican politicians and affiliated outside parties, and in response to the memorandum, the agency withdrew the $300 million in incentives it planned to offer VW in exchange for for the seven-passenger SUV.

Moving ahead to this week, UAW president Bob King stated the biggest factor in backing down on its appeal before the National Labor Relations Board was to help VW and the workers in Chattanooga land the deal for the SUV. In the meantime, the union is considering options to bring organized labor to the plant, including a private vote to be held sometime this year. King added that the UAW still had representatives working with the workers on the floor in Chattanooga, vowing the union would continue to push for representation.

As for the deal that had been cast aside, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam hopes to quickly reestablish talks between the state and VW for the SUV, though Mexico has made an offer to bring the product into one of its factories.

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9 Comments on “VW, UAW Consider Options Surrounding Chattanooga Plant...”

  • avatar

    All these articles using that photo and it finally comes to me…
    the roof of the Douglas’ barn in the opening shots of Green Acres.

    Der dernt duh dernt dernt.. DERNT DERNT!

  • avatar

    The plant was doing just fine until they injected all this drama.

  • avatar

    Unless the calendar changes to a 15 month year, it would seem that the plant is under capacity. VW’s projections were for 150000 units per year. They sold 109652 Passats in 2013. So if they’re moving an average of about 9138 Passats/month, they could use another model. But now it looks like that other model might get made in Mexico, so that’s not particularly good for Chattanooga. The people in Tennessee better hope it doesn’t turn into another Westmoreland.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The swing voters in the first election demonstrated a heavy anti-UAW/anti-union bias. Face it – not every voter has an open mind.

    The entrenched voters are (by definition) unchanging, so it will be hard for the UAW to overcome the gap.

  • avatar

    Anyone understand King’s statement. Sounds like he is admitting that pushing for unionization could endanger expansion, so they are going to back off for a while.

    • 0 avatar

      At this point the politicians are either committed to sinking huge amounts of money into any expansion or look like idiots to average folk (the faithful will blame it on the non-existent union of course). Plant closes due to Passat sales, the uaw walks away clean, and they get to explain the mess.

  • avatar

    Pretty much the UAW had the option of dragging the Tennessee Governor through the mud and eventually winning a drawn out court battle by the time they could just as easily hold another legal election. In the mean time by letting VW get a huge chunk of red state money for expansion and then voting to unionize the whole argument becomes moot. In the end it seems like a win-win for everybody except for long-term right-wing ideological plans.

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