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Six state governors form coalition to oppose UAW’s efforts as VW union vote approaches

(Local 3 News) From our partners at Local 3 News: UPDATE: As efforts to unionize continue at auto plants in Alabama and Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee

(Local 3 News)

From our partners at Local 3 News: UPDATE: As efforts to unionize continue at auto plants in Alabama and Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee joined five other state governors in coming out against the movement on Tuesday.


Governor Lee along with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, released the following statement on the efforts to unionize at automaker plants:

“We the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas are highly concerned about the unionization campaign driven by misinformation and scare tactics that the UAW has brought into our states. As Governors, we have a responsibility to our constituents to speak up when we see special interests looking to come into our state and threaten our jobs and the values we live by.

The reality is companies have choices when it comes to where to invest and bring jobs and opportunity. We have worked tirelessly on behalf of our constituents to bring good-paying jobs to our states. These jobs have become part of the fabric of the automotive manufacturing industry. Unionization would certainly put our states’ jobs in jeopardy – in fact, in this year already, all of the UAW automakers have announced layoffs. In America, we respect our workforce and we do not need to pay a third party to tell us who can pick up a box or flip a switch. No one wants to hear this, but it’s the ugly reality. We’ve seen it play out this way every single time a foreign automaker plant has been unionized; not one of those plants remains in operation. And we are seeing it in the fallout of the Detroit Three strike with those automakers rethinking investments and cutting jobs. Putting businesses in our states in that position is the last thing we want to do.

The experience in our states is when employees have a direct relationship with their employers, that makes for a more positive working environment. They can advocate for themselves and what is important to them without outside influence. The UAW has come in making big promises to our constituents that they can’t deliver on. And we have serious reservations that the UAW leadership can represent our values. They proudly call themselves democratic socialists and seem more focused on helping President Biden get reelected than on the autoworker jobs being cut at plants they already represent.

We want to keep good paying jobs and continue to grow the American auto manufacturing sector here. A successful unionization drive will stop this growth in its tracks, to the detriment of American workers.”


A private vote is expected to be held by Volkswagen employees on whether or not to unionize from Wednesday to Friday.



PREVIOUS STORY: As the vote on whether or not to unionize at Chattanooga Volkswagen gets closer, local elected leaders are sharing their opinions on the effort.


Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp and other local republicans held a press conference Monday morning near the plant in hopes of convincing workers to vote against unionizing.


“The UAW is a sinking ship, and they’re coming south looking for a bail out,” said Wamp.


Mayor Wamp did not sugar coat his thoughts on the possibility of VW employees unionizing, explaining he doesn’t believe unions are inherently bad but instead the UAW alone is “corrupt” and “politically motivated.”


“Over a dozen high ranking UAW officials who are charged with public corruption by the federal government,” said Wamp.


The mayor also pointed out UAW memberships have declined from a high of 1.2 million members to now just 370,000.


State Senator Bo Watson admitted VW employees have the right to unionize but wants them to consider UAW’s track record before voting.


“I hope that the workers from Tennessee will not fall prey to the influence of outsiders who have moved into our area for the incredible economic opportunity we have created here,” said Sen. Watson.


State Representative Yusuf Hakeem supports unionizing because of what they have to offer workers.


“When you look at the reality of what unions do, they protect the basic rights of workers… health care and employment, jobs, and the wages, all of that… it’s a part of the process,” said Rep. Hakeem.


While much of Wamp’s and Watson’s remarks focused on tying the effort to the democratic party, VW worker Isaac Meadows says the efforts by his coworkers are not driven by politics and encourages all employees to vote.


“This is a personal issue for us, trying to improve our workforce, trying to improve our quality of life and improve our families quality of life,” said Meadows.


Volkswagen employees will vote privately on whether they want to join the union. Voting will be April 17 through the 19.