Haslam: Volkswagen Doesn’t Need a Union

Gov. Bill Haslam has weighed in on reports that Volkswagen is talking with the United Auto Workers about the Chattanooga plant, saying workers like the current nonunion structure, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
“I would hate for anything to happen that would hurt the productivity of the plant or to deter investment in Chattanooga,” Haslam said in a statement.
The Republican governor said Tennessee is a right-to-work state and that he has talked to a number of VW employees who are “very comfortable” with the way things are now at the factory.
“Volkswagen continues to be incredibly successful with the current structure,” the governor said.
He added that VW is an “outstanding employer that puts a lot of focus on employee satisfaction,” but the decision regarding a works council and the UAW ultimately will be one for the company and its 3,200 employees.
Horst Neumann, VW’s board member in charge of human resources, has said the automaker was in talks with the UAW about setting up a German-style labor board at the plant that produces the Passat sedan.
According to an Automotive News report, Neumann said the company may release a plan for the works council labor board in May or June, and formal talks with a union could begin in the second half of the year if VW’s managing board approves.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said Wednesday the issue is whether to develop something like the European model for cooperative labor and management relations.
He said that move is “not the more confrontational model that we are accustomed to in the United States.”

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