published Monday, February 10th, 2014

Tennessee legislators criticize 'coercion' against VW workers

Will VW workers vote to join the UAW?

A state House member from Chattanooga today criticized remarks by a pair of other Hamilton County legislators linking this week’s vote by Volkswagen plant workers on union representation to potential incentives for the automaker to expand.

“That is coercion,” said state Rep. JoAnne Favors. “We value the economic impact Volkswagen has had in Chattanooga.”

Favors and state Rep. Sherry Jones also were critical of “outside groups” attempting to influence VW workers at the plant, who are to vote Wednesday through Friday on whether to accept the United Auto Workers as their representatives.

“Unions are not the bad guys,” Jones said at a press conference.

Earlier today, state Sen. Bo Watson said that future financial incentives for expanding Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant may hinge on how workers vote this week on whether to accept the UAW.

Should workers vote for UAW representation, “I believe any additional incentives from the citizens of the state of Tennessee for expansion or otherwise will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee senate,” said Watson said.

Also, state Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, urged VW workers to vote “no” on the UAW.

“The taxpayers of Tennessee reached out to Volkswagen and welcome them to our state and our community. We are glad they are here. But that is not a green light to help force a union into the workplace. That was not part of the deal,” the House majority leader said at a press conference.

VW had said Chattanooga is the frontrunner to produce a new sport utility vehicle, but that it’s competing with Mexico for the project.

See more on the UAW Decision in Tuesday’s Times Free Press.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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