published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has 'frank' talk with VW labor official

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam had a "frank and open conversation" today with a top German labor official who has voiced support for a works council labor board at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, a Haslam spokesman says.

Spokesman David Smith said the governor met with Bernd Osterloh, who heads VW's global works council, and other officials in Haslam's state Capitol office.

Haslam and fellow top Republican elected officials in the state, including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga, have voiced opposition to unionizing the Chattanooga plant.

"The governor and they [Osterloh] had a a frank and open conversation," Smith said in a statement. "They have a tradition of works councils in their facilities, and the governor shared his concern about the impact of UAW [United Auto Workers union] on the state's ability to recruit other companies to Tennessee."

Smith said "it was a very good conversations, and the governor appreciates their time."

He did not elaborate on whether anything was resolved.

Earlier, a group of men left the governor's office with one strongly resembling Osterloh. They refused to stop and speak with a reporter as they left the Capitol and climbed into two VW cars bearing Hamilton County license tags.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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