Tag Archives: auto

Governor Fears VW Union Would Frighten Other Businesses

Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that the possibility of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant becoming unionized is coming up as a topic of concern among other industries the state is trying to recruit to Tennessee, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
The Republican governor, who opposes the United Auto Workers’ unionization efforts, said he has “heard that from some of the other people considering Tennessee that that would be a negative in their mind if that happened in Chattanooga.”
“So,” Haslam continued, “we’ve communicated that to Volkswagen. Ultimately, like I said, we want to see them [Volkswagen] grow here.”
Meanwhile, an international labor expert said that German labor leaders backing the organizing effort in Chattanooga could influence whether a potential new model is produced in Tennessee or Mexico. Lowell Turner, a Cornell University international and comparative labor professor, said he interpreted a statement last week by a top leader in VW’s global works council to mean that “We’d like to see representation [in Chattanooga] and for it to happen before we look at expansion there.”
“If we can expand somewhere else with a more friendly environment, why expand in a place that’s hostile to unions and worker representation,” Turner said he thought was the message.
Last week, VW Group deputy works council chief Stephan Wolf threatened to block expansion in Chattanooga unless a similar labor panel is put into place at the factory.

Looking at Efforts to Unionize VW Plant in Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Times-Free Press has a rundown on the “increasingly pitched battle over unionizing Volkswagen’s auto assembly plant” in Southeast Tennessee.
A Washington, D.C.-based group is ramping up a summer-long campaign to convince plant workers and Chattanoogans in general about what it calls “devastating” consequences for the factory, city and state should the employees unionize.
Pro-union forces, such as the Michigan-based United Auto Workers, continue to press their case for what they say is “a new model” where the workforce and management aren’t adversarial but rather vie for the same goal.
Matt Patterson, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center For Economic Freedom, said his group has put up a billboard on Highway 153, just a few miles from the VW plant, to help get its message across about the dangers of unions and the UAW.
The billboard depicts a rundown former Detroit, Mich., auto plant and states “Auto unions ATE Detroit. Next meal: Chattanooga?”
Plans are to begin efforts to educate business leaders, politicians and citizens “about the history, tactics and legacy of this powerful union,” according to a website, WorkplaceChoice.org, sponsored by the group.
Patterson said he’s talking with local tea party activists to discuss strategy in terms of distributing materials such as pamphlets.
…Ed Hunter, a Volkswagen employee and union supporter, said education efforts are ongoing to inform employees about a German-style works council labor board and “the new UAW.”
“Our group is expanding every day,” he said, adding that people see the German model as one in which “everybody is working for the same goal.”
At the VW plant, Juergen Stumpf, who has extensive experience as an employee representative in the VW Group and is considered an expert on the German works councils system, has been assigned to the Chattanooga factory.
“Mr. Stumpf is currently on assignment in Chattanooga to be an information resource for the local management and employees regarding the German model of co-determination,” said plant spokesman Scott Wilson.

Haslam Part of National Governors Auto Caucus

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says a bipartisan organization of governors will work to promote the auto manufacturing industry in the United States.
Snyder on Wednesday discussed the creation of the National Governors Auto Caucus. Snyder is among the founding governors alongside Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Snyder says the group will seek to explore policy and developments that impact the industry.
Snyder was in the Traverse City area for the Center for Automotive Research management briefing seminars.
Snyder’s office says the event was his first opportunity to meet with the Automotive Communities Partnership. That Center for Automotive Research initiative aims to promote regional collaboration in the Great Lakes area that fosters economic development related to the auto industry.