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TN politicians may push to end VW incentives if plant goes union

Tue, 11 Feb 2014

Volkswagen's Chattanooga Assembly Plant is scheduled to vote on whether to unionize in the coming days, but Tennessee state lawmakers are threatening to deny future tax subsidies to the factory, if the vote is successful. The factory is currently the only Volkswagen plant worldwide that is not unionized.

The states's Republican lawmakers have been particularly vocal against the union vote. Tennessee state senator Bo Watson said during a press conference that VW would have a "very tough time" with future incentives if the vote were successful, according to Automotive News. Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said the "heavy hand" of the UAW is not welcome there. VW has drawn criticism from both sides because it has allowed both pro- and anti-union groups to speak to workers and hand out leaflets.

Roughly 1,500 factory employees will vote on whether to unionize from February 12-14. If successful, the Chattanooga factory would be the first in the US organized under a German-style works council system where white- and blue-collar workers directly negotiate factory issues with the company's management.

VW has also been rumored to expand the Chattanooga plant to build the seven passenger CrossBlue SUV, which could add thousands of jobs to the area. However, if the union vote is successful, politicians may not subsidize the upgrade and force Volkswagen to build it in Mexico.

By Chris Bruce

See also: Porsche board members facing another 1.8B lawsuit over VW takeover bid, Last VW bus ever made arrives at final destination, Autoblog Podcast #366.