Corker has been "assured" a new CUV will come to the plant if it votes against the UAW

The ongoing drama that is the possible unionization of the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga has just had an enormous twist - Republican Senator Bob Corker said yesterday during the first of a three-day, secret-ballot vote at the factory, that he has been "assured" by VW that if the Chattanooga plant votes against UAW unionization, it will be awarded production of a new mid-size crossover, a model we've speculated will be a production version of the CrossBlue Concept.

"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," Corker said, according to Yahoo! News.

Now, ignoring the fact that Corker's history with the UAW is adversarial at best and venomous at worse, it should be pointed out that the Senator's statements run counter to everything VW has said about unionization up until this point. In fact, back in October, we reported on allegations by Chattanooga factory workers that a senior member of VW said the plant might not get the new crossover if it didn't organize. And just last month, we reported that the Chattanooga factory was in the lead to get the new CUV. So you can understand why we're a little surprised by the boldness of the Senator's proclamation.

The Chattanooga factory, meanwhile, has issued its own statement on the matter, with Frank Fischer, the plant's president and CEO saying, "There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees' decision about whether to be represented by a union and the decision about where to build a new product for the U.S. market."

Corker's statements could invalidate the current vote and may even be illegal, labor experts said.

Corker's statement brings up a number of questions, not the least of which involve the continued legitimacy of the current vote. According to Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, a professor of labor at the University of Indiana and an expert on the National Labor Relations Board who spoke to Yahoo! News, Corker's statements "would be grounds to set the election aside and have to run it all over again at a later date" because the interference could be considered illegal under federal labor laws.

Based on Dau-Schmidt's comments, it almost seems like Corker could be deliberately trying to invalidate this vote in favor of a new one at a later date. That could be the case if the Senator has enough reason to believe that the plant will go to the UAW, as holding a new vote at a later date could give anti-union forces more time to campaign amongst workers. That's total speculation on our part, but it might explain Corker's statements.

Meanwhile, other experts are questioning the legality of Corker's statement. "The Senator's comments amount to economic intimidation that undermines the whole nature of union representation elections," Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California-Berkeley told Yahoo! "If the senator's statement doesn't violate the letter of the law, it certainly violates the spirit of the law."

As we've been doing throughout this saga, we'll stay with this one, and will update you when any additional information comes out.


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  • 235 Comments
      • 10 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      What a circus this is turning out to be.
      butkusjd
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is Indiana University (hence initials IU); not the University of Indiana.
      Ross
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is the 21st century, in the olden days the union was necessary as it helped shape the legislature and led to safer, more appealing work environments. However, with that in place, there is no longer a reason to support this parasite that drains the economy and constrains growth. UAW must be eradicated.
        AronD
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Ross
        "This is the 21st century, in the olden days the union was necessary" Yes, because the middle class has fared so well of the last thirty year (insert a avalanche of sarcasm)
        Sir Duke
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Ross
        " UAW must be eradicated. " Oh the Stupidity. A worker with no voice is the equivalent of an indentured servant, which is one step removed from slavery. Take AOL for example, just this past month, they dropped the workers 401K plans. The reason given by the CEO, was that two employees had babies with catastrophic illnesses that cost the company 1 million dollars. The CEO took home 13 million dollars. You think 2008 happened by accident? The next go around will be even worse. I have money in the stock market, but the absolute profit business model is detrimental to the society it is supposed to serve. None of these companies are worth crap without their workers, but still they treat their workers like crap at the behest of the pimps on Wall Street. Here is what's a bigger drain on the economy, the workers/general populace not being able to afford the crap these companies make, then they turn around and blame the unions. There needed to be a re-alignment / reset of the employer/union relationship, crushing the union was bad for all of us. No, not a member of any union.
          potmind
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sir Duke
          Have the State and the Feds seize all the assets and run them "for the Workers' benefit"? A new proletariat is now alive in the USA, Comrades. The Unions are dwindling, yet their campaign contributions remain powerful, so politicians comply. The people is not represented.
          thequebecerinfrance
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Sir Duke
          @potmind Of course companies do not have any political representation at all...
      hemusbull
      • 10 Months Ago
      UAW is a cancer in US economy...Expect higher priced people's vehicles soon!
        potmind
        • 10 Months Ago
        @hemusbull
        If they organize that plant, it will be less costly for VW to abandon it and build a new one. Unions have decimated this country's ability to manufacture. We even buy our own cannons, or our nuke plant containers from dumb foreign countries! Now, who is dumber?
          j0nny5
          • 10 Months Ago
          @potmind
          Just you, my friend. Every single other VW plant *on Earth* is unionized. Clearly, it hasn't been a problem until the same group of states that were the last to let go of slavery got involved.
      israelkickbum
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope UAW doesn't get in the VW plant. UAW unions are the most criminal enterprise in USA. Look how they bankrupted Chrysler and GMC if Obama didn't bail them out. Spend all the tax payer money and both companies still suck cause Unions still there.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 10 Months Ago
        @israelkickbum
        Right they bankrupted the auto industry. The only reason why american auto industry tanked is because management could not manage the companies, even with godlike salaries. But it's easier to blame the workers than to blame the boss.
        lectricpaul
        • 10 Months Ago
        @israelkickbum
        Well you are certainly not the brightest car in the garage!
        RLC
        • 10 Months Ago
        @israelkickbum
        Was it the UAW workers who decided to create the Hummer brand that tanked? Or Saturn? Was it the UAW who supported Daimler's rape of Chrysler? Yes, the UAW has made some outrageous demands, but GM and Chrysler granted their demands. The UAW isn't blameless in the downturn of the American auto industry, but the decline started at the top levels of management at GM and Chrysler.
        J I M
        • 10 Months Ago
        @israelkickbum
        apparently you have no brain matter in your head - apparently you do not know corporations that make millions - billions - trillions in profits - not only do not pay any federal taxes - they also receive taxpayer paid subsidies - and hide millions - billions - trillions off shore -
      Herman
      • 10 Months Ago
      WHY, WHY would they want the UAW in their plant. It will bring sure death just as it did to the previous VW plant in Penn.
        Phil1982
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Herman
        They built a horrendous car in that plant. They sure had no problems with the UAW when they were kicking out 200K Rabbits a year. What you're saying is uninformed nonsense. When sales of the Rabbit tanked....and they TANKED...VW shuttered the plant and moved on. Low margin, low volume = disaster. Had absolutely NOTHING to do with the UAW.
          Herman
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Phil1982
          Just months after the UAW entered the Penn Westmoreland plant, the workers "walked out" and striked. Followed by more strikes and more strike demanding more and more till the plant was no longer viable. So VW closed the plant choosing future expansions in Mexico. Sadly, it looks like history is about to repeat.
          Phil1982
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Phil1982
          The plant closed because there was NO demand for the vehicles. In 10 years it went from 200K units to almost nil. The market closed the plant. If you honestly think that VW would have closed up shop while moving 200K units because it had some problems with the UAW, then, you sir, have no clue what you're talking about.
          carboy55
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Phil1982
          No demand for the vehicles? When did they stop selling Rabbiot/Golf here?
          Phil1982
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Phil1982
          You clearly have an internet connection. Go do some research. The car's demand tanked in the 80's and the plant closed.
        cpmanx
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Herman
        The Westmoreland plant had plenty of other problems, including the Americanized Rabbit, half-baked Pickup, a shift to larger cars, and overall declining VW sales.
          carguy1701
          • 10 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          Phil1982: I wouldn't call the Passat 'crap'. The Jetta maybe, but its due for an update that will hopefully fix things. Can't comment on the Beetle. The perception of VW in this market, though, was and remains tainted by the US-built Rabbits. Having never had any experience with teh car (happened long before I was born), I can't comment on them directly, but having had 2 VWs that only had one major issue between the two of them, I'm gonna say that its time to put the past to rest.
          Herman
          • 10 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          True, the UAW built rabbit was utter unreliable crap in comparison to the Germany build rabbits.
          Phil1982
          • 10 Months Ago
          @cpmanx
          Interestingly enough, the vehicles that VW builds in North America are pretty much crap. UAW or not, VW has never had a reputation for good quality in the US. But, it's pretty clear, you're bent on pinning pretty much anything you can find on the UAW. I heard Bob King was spotted on the grassy knoll...
      LXbuilder
      • 10 Months Ago
      Corker is a POS who will always give 110% to keep working folks down, while taking care of his rich buddies. Anti-union working folks need to get their collective heads out of they're butts, and stop slaving to make the rich, richer. This is why America is slipping in the world and the future "American dream" will be found in many places other than America. VW will bring it's new CUV to that plant which ever way the vote goes, they've as much as said so already.
      Fazzster
      • 10 Months Ago
      Dear VW workers in TN, please vote against the union at your fine factory. You have done a great job with the Passat as a non-unionized facility. Please realize the carrot being dangled is poison and will ultimately lead to your demise. Thank you
      Diz
      • 10 Months Ago
      Proving once again that business and workers flourish where the UAW is dead.
        vigorpat
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Diz
        And ignorance and stupidity flourish when you comment.
          Diz
          • 10 Months Ago
          @vigorpat
          Go ahead - Name one single flourishing UAW auto plant that didn't suck-off the American taxpayer. Times up. There is none.
        J I M
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Diz
        you say -Go ahead - Name one single flourishing UAW auto plant that didn't suck-off the American taxpayer- apparently you do not know that corporations that make millions - billions - trillions of $$$ in profit - not only do not pay any federal taxes - they also receive billions in taxpayer subsidies - hand hide millions - billions - trillions off shore to keep from paying taxes - what the government loaned the car companies - is just a vaporized drop in the bucket compared with what corporations are sticking the U.S.TAXPAYER
      CEIL AND DON
      • 10 Months Ago
      Interfering with the rights of workers to organize is against the law. Senator's like this want to take us back to the days when worker's had no voice in decisions affecting their lives. What a horses' ass.
        Phil1982
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CEIL AND DON
        Not only that, but VW has pretty much opened the doors for the UAW. He's not only interfering with a workers right to organize, but he's interfering with what the company feels is in it's best interests. The smear campaign being run against the UAW is being spearheaded by everyone BUT VOLKSWAGEN. This is one of the strangest displays of unmitigated garbage I've ever seen.
        Renaurd
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CEIL AND DON
        Bob Corker is nothing but a lying pile of crap.
      sgrimes889
      • 10 Months Ago
      Unions cause job losses because of greed of union bosses and workers.Thanks to them,massive job losses and work sent offshore.Unions never can manage to confiscate enough to satisfy them
        Worx2749
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sgrimes889
        Wrong. Unions did not cause corporations to ship jobs overseas...rather, the bought-and-paid-for members of CONGRESS ALLOWED corporations to offshore jobs with no penalty. Usually, it's the republicans in the vanguard, under various BS slogans.
        Georg
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sgrimes889
        amazingly it works perfectly well in the rest of the world only in the US of A the rich wants to get evern richer and the poor even poorer...
        J I M
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sgrimes889
        this is totally untrue - as union membership declines - the middle class declines - plenty of non union companies have moved off shore seeking higher profits for the owners unions are democracy in the workplace - without a union contract - workers are working under a dictatorship
        J I M
        • 10 Months Ago
        @sgrimes889
        the US does not export products any more - NAFTA - CAFTA - SHAFTA - KORUS - HAVE caused the job loses - union and non union corporations have moved outta the country seeking higher profits for INVESTORS - exploiting 3rd world workers who get paid a dollar a day - where they can dump toxic chemicals anywhere they want - these corporations have no loyalty to their workers or their country - you will see more job loses when the TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP gets approved - because it was wrote by corporations for corporations -
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