Tennessee Governor Sees Harm if UAW Succeeds at Chattanooga

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said on Monday there is concern that auto-related investments in the state could be chilled if the United Auto Workers union is successful in organizing workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga assembly plant.

“It was one of the reasons why we have engaged VW on this issue,” Mr. Haslam said following a news conference to disclose South Korean tire maker Hankook Tire Co. plans to invest $800 million in the state.

“Companies like Hankook and others have said that in looking at Tennessee, ‘that is a concern of ours.’ I am not anti-union. I think it will have repercussions on additional job development in Tennessee.”

Mr. Haslam said he kept Hankook officials abreast of the VW situation during negotiations to land the new plant. Hankook plans to begin making tires in the state in 2016 at a facility here that is expected to employ 1,800 workers.

Last week, a German union leader on Volkswagen’s supervisory board said union representation at the company’s Chattanooga assembly plant shouldn’t come without an employee vote. The UAW has signaled it would prefer Volkswagen management to accept the union as its bargaining partner without a secret ballot election, a path allowed under U.S. labor law if more than 50% of workers sign a card accepting union representation.

“If it comes to a vote and workers vote to accept the UAW…we aren’t going to go in and nullify it in any way,” Mr. Haslam said. “Our job is to be upfront to what the downside is.”

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