Union Drive Doesn’t Bother Management but G O P Fumes NYTimes com — Volkswagen 2014

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Volkswagen 2014

Union Drive Doesn’t Management, but G.O.P. Fumes

Rising Ahead of U.A.W.

Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, are voting this morning on or not they want union reports CNBC’s Phil

As workers at the Volkswagen plant in Tenn. prepare to vote week on whether to join the Automobile Workers. they are unusual pressure from the Republican legislators to reject the

State Senator Bo Watson, who a suburb of Chattanooga, warned on that if VW’s workers to embrace the U.A.W. the Republican-controlled might vote against future incentives to help the expand.

“The members of the Senate will not view as in the best interest of Tennessee,” Mr. said at a news conference. He that a pro-U.A.W. vote make it “exponentially more for the legislature to approve future

A loss of such incentives, analysts say, could Volkswagen to award production of a new to its plant in Mexico instead of to the plant, which currently the Passat.

At a news conference on Tuesday, States Senator Bob Corker, a mayor of Chattanooga and a Republican, called on VW employees to reject the He called it “a Detroit-based organization” key to survival was to organize plants in the


Workers assemble Passats in Chattanooga. Credit Schelzig/Associated Press

“We’re about the impact,” Mr. Corker “Look at Detroit.”

This vote, which will run for days beginning on Wednesday, is closely watched because it make the Volkswagen factory the foreign-owned auto assembly to be unionized in the traditionally anti-union Some industry experts say the prospects of succeeding have buoyed by Volkswagen’s decision not to the unionization drive and even to support for the union.

Volkswagen is to have a German-style works at the Chattanooga plant. The council bring together managers and and blue-collar workers to help set policies and foster collaboration. labor experts say that to a works council, employees need to vote for a labor to represent them. If the Chattanooga establishes a works council, it be the first factory in the United to do so.

“Our works councils are key to our and productivity,” said Frank Volkswagen Chattanooga’s chief and chairman. “It is a business model helped to make Volkswagen the car company in the world. Our plant in has the opportunity to create a uniquely works council, in which the would be able to work with our employees and ultimately union representatives, if the employees they wish to be represented by a

Labor experts say a U.A.W. could create momentum to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, and the BMW plant in Spartanburg, S.C.

that a U.A.W. victory hurt Tennessee’s business Gov. Bill Haslam has that auto parts might decide against in Chattanooga because they not want to set up near a unionized VW

“I think that there are ramifications to the vote in terms of our to attract other suppliers,” the governor told the editorial of The Tennessean last week. we recruit other companies, comes up every time.”

The pressure has had the U.A.W. and Democratic crying foul.


is an outrageous and unprecedented effort by officials to violate the rights of and workers,” said Mike chairman of Tennessee’s House Caucus. “Republicans are basically to kill jobs if workers their federally protected to organize. When the company they don’t have a with it, what right the state have to come in and say can’t do it?”


Senator Bo Watson said if the U.A.W. is voted in, the plant lose future incentives. Erik Schelzig/Associated Press

Casteel. the U.A.W.’s director for the voiced dismay with threats to end future subsidies to VW.

“It’s sad that when exercise their legal to form a union, some politicians are threatening the economic of communities and businesses just workers want to have a in the future of Volkswagen in Chattanooga,” Mr. said.

U.A.W. officials say numerous auto parts have set up shop near unionized auto plant in Hill, Tenn.

The nation’s anti-tax activist, Grover and his group, Americans for Tax Reform. joined the anti-union campaign, that a U.A.W. victory help bring big government to The group’s new affiliate, the Center for Freedom, has put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga, some calling the U.A.W. Obama Workers” and saying, UAW spends millions to elect politicans” — misspelling “politicians.” billboard says, “Detroit: to you by the U.A.W.,” and shows a photo of a plant that was shuttered 55 ago.

Chris Brown, a Volkswagen worker, objects to the pressure. “This decision be between the workers, VW and the U.A.W.,” he “We’re the parties involved. Haslam is elected to run the state. is our workplace and our decision.”

While Republicans argue having a union would the plant less competitive, Mr. said that having a and works council would it more competitive by increasing cooperation.

Volkswagen, saying it was about employees’ privacy, the U.A.W. not to have organizers workers at home to urge to vote for the union. In return, VW has let into break rooms to questions about unionizing.

Burton, a VW worker who is opposed to the says that has given the an unfair advantage, although VW say anti-union and pro-union workers are to campaign and talk to one another breaks.

Though hit hard by the attacks, U.A.W. officials are victory, noting that of the plant’s workers signed favoring a union.

But Matt executive director of Mr. Norquist’s for Worker Freedom, said: not predicting victory at all. As as people are informed and know the then I consider our job done. If learn all the facts and want a that’s their right.”

A version of this article in print on February 12, 2014, on B3 of the New York edition with the Automaker Gives Its Blessings, and Its Warnings. Order Reprints | Paper | Subscribe


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