The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry says in a letter to top Volkswagen officials that an increase in the level of unionization will make it more difficult to attract more auto suppliers to Southeast Tennessee.
The business group also said in the letter to VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn that such a move will be a setback for the overall positive business climate.
“We urge you not to invite the United Auto Workers into the Chattanooga plant without at least giving your employees the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot election after learning all of the relevant pros and cons of union representation,” said the letter signed by Bill Ozier, the group’s chairman and Catherine Glover, its president.
Horst Neumann, VW’s board member in charge of human resources, said last month that it may release a plan for a European-style works council for Chattanooga in May or June, an action that would require a union in accordance with U.S. labor law, experts say. Neumann said talks with a union, presumably the UAW, could begin in the second half of the year, according to VW.
UAW President Bob King has said that he’s “pleased that Volkswagen, known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils, has an open mind about letting the employees in Chattanooga also be a part of the global VW system of co-determination.”