You didn't think that you'd heard the last of union talk at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, TN, just because workers voted not to join the United Auto Workers, did you? Of course not. And this latest tidbit is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows, as it came straight from Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council in Germany.

I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again. ... If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor [of another VW plant in the southern US].

In other words, VW's works council, which has to approve any new plants before they can be built, may block further expansion in southern US states due to the area's apparent anti-union stance. If you're wondering why Osterloh – the same VW executive who called its US operations "a disaster" – is still talking about union representation, despite the plant's workers voting not to join, here's the answer: "The conservatives stirred up massive, anti-union sentiments. It's possible that the conclusion will be drawn that this interference amounted to unfair labor praxis."

That anti-union interference can at least in part be directed to US Senator Bob Corker, who, on the first day of voting, said that he has been "assured" by Volkswagen that if the Chattanooga plant voted against UAW unionization, it would get a new midsize crossover to build, likely a production version of the CrossBlue Concept. Other elected Republicans, such as state senator Bo Watson and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, also publicly warned that the plant may lose out on state incentives if it were unionized.

It's also worth noting that any interference with plant workers' right "to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations" is likely illegal under federal law, although it certainly sounds like plenty of interference has already taken place from both pro- and anti-union sides alike. This being the case, another vote in Chattanooga is certainly a distinct possibility.

In any case, we're quite sure that we've not yet heard the last from Volkswagen, the UAW or Tennessee lawmakers on the issue of unionization in Chattanooga, which, as has been widely reported already, is the only VW plant in the world that isn't represented by a union.


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  • 235 Comments
      Feurig
      • 10 Months Ago
      Oh boo hoo, conservatives spent money trying to sway people away from unionization. It's not like the UAW didn't spend money trying to support unionization. If the plant had been unionized, the conservatives would complain about the influence of the UAW. This is stupid.
      omgcool
      • 10 Months Ago
      Can someone explain to me why a higher-up at VW would push so hard for unionization? I can't for the life of me see a benefit to VW as a company. Look at how much better the US Big-Three are doing ever since the UAW agreed to lighten their grip! I'm not necessarily anti-union, but I've noted that many tend to get far too greedy. My father worked at a warehouse in high school where he was the only non-unionized worker. He got offered most overtime because he was a cheaper, harder worker that never slept on the clock as he noted some others would do. Wouldn't you know, the union didn't like that and got him terminated. Because he was a better worker and refused to join the union. A union run amuck. Really though, any thoughts as to why VW would push for unionization?
        jonwil2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @omgcool
        The guy pushing for this is the head union guy at VW basically and represents all VW workers and unions globally at the management level of the company.
        RENE PEREZ
        • 10 Months Ago
        @omgcool
        uniond take away the mNgement of the workforce away ... and it's up t the rank and file to make it or break it... as a union man of 40yrs... we've seen em come and we've seen em go and we're still here
      churchmotor
      • 10 Months Ago
      How typical, THEIR Union thugs don't get their way so they want to TAKE DOWN the company. So now they want to turn Chatanooga into a ghetto wasteland just like Detroit has become.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 10 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        If the republican had just shut their stupid mouth up they would have been no contest possible on the election result. Now they acted like thugs to intimidate pro-union workers, they will get what they deserve.
          Rex Monaco
          • 10 Months Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          We fought a war so that German socialism wouldn't be forced upon us. Did you forget that already?
          Pj Taintz
          • 10 Months Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          so, its ok for the pro union types to espose the greatness of the union, but the anti union folk cant bring up the fact that the unions destroyed detroit? Seems like a double standard to me
        m_2012
        • 10 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        That gives ghetto wastelands a bad name.
        funguy6713
        • 10 Months Ago
        @churchmotor
        You do realize Osterloh also sits on VW Board of Directors and has a direct hand and decision-making power as to which plants gets new products or not? Stupid is as stupid does...
      richard
      • 10 Months Ago
      I`m becoming a Volkswagon fan! Bob Corker must be stunned. After all that butt-kissing, the Germans look at him like he`s an idiot. Hilarious! Go Volkswagon!
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      It's very simple. The only people who vote for republicans are the 1% and the poor, uneducated, uninformed masses. They can't get the votes of educated middle class, so they try to kill it with their anti-union propaganda.
        chargedzo6
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        So the "poor, uneducated, uniformed masses" + the "1%" = over 47% of the voting population ? (2012 popular vote % for Mitt Romney) Liberals are absolutely obsessed with class warfare and these comments on an AUTOMOTIVE website further solidify that argument. Unions had their place in history, but times have changed and the workers don't need a money-******* hyper-political organization such as the UAW representing their interests. VW employees at Chattanooga are compensated higher than average for the industry and the relations with management are already quite positive (source: Reuters, "Loss at Volkswagen plant upends union's plan for U.S. South"). knightrider_6 you are completely brain-washed. It's honestly sad when people feel they have to use the 1% statistic to bolster their political arguments. There are those who choose to envy and patronize the 1%, and then there are those who choose to work harder than any 40-hour work week would allow you to do and climb their way up to try and be among the 1% one day. You choose which side of that argument you want to be on.
          chargedzo6
          • 10 Months Ago
          @chargedzo6
          For the record, the bleeped out word wasn't a curse word! The word is the verb action required to eat a popsicle.
          knightrider_6
          • 10 Months Ago
          @chargedzo6
          It is sad to see how right wing propaganda machine had brain washed people in this country. Last I checked income inequality is increasing in US - all thanks to the failed TRICKLE DOWN economic policies of the right.
          Gorgenapper
          • 10 Months Ago
          @chargedzo6
          Licking? :D
        churchmotor
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Knightrider_6, Under you savior Obammy, the 1% have gotten far richer. The poor have expanded and gotten poorer, and the middle class is going away. So much for your leftist communist saviour Obammy's "Hope and Change". I guess he need to get his "phone and pen" busy.
      holysmoke.s
      • 10 Months Ago
      A Union giving threats! Really! How Shocking! /end sarcasm
        mikeybyte1
        • 10 Months Ago
        @holysmoke.s
        Did you even read the article? It's the VW head of Labor. Not the UAW.
      Rick C.
      • 10 Months Ago
      For the comprehension-challenged who couldn't be bothered to read the story: 1. VW corporate board member Bernd Osterloh WANTS the union. 2. stated that if no union is created, Tennessee WON'T get any new plants 3. US Senator Bob Corker (R) was interfering illegally.
        Kimithechamp
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rick C.
        and to help Rick C. -Osterloh, as a member of the board, wants the union because he is the head of the Works Council [read: union] -the UAW/Osterloh has been/will continue to interfere illegally
          funguy6713
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Kimithechamp
          And Krazy Corker? he started his illegal act first...he also believes that the earth is only 6,000 years old...smh
          TelegramSam
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Kimithechamp
          Under what machination could one claim the UAW is interfering with a worker's right to organize? Ditto for Osterloh? Their actions are not prohibiting a worker from doing anything, only enabling.
      funguy6713
      • 10 Months Ago
      hahahaha...suckers, told ya so!!! On the original article a few days ago I was seriously down voted...now my prediction will come through...in a few years the Tennessee plant will be closed and moved to Mexico...yeah, Tennessee is the 42nd most stupidest state in the country... http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/2011/11/tn-drops-in-education-report-c.html http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is-tennessee%27s-rank-in-education
        The Friendly Grizzly
        • 10 Months Ago
        @funguy6713
        "Most stupidest"? You need to, like, learn to talk more sweller and more neatlier and stuff...
        Renaurd
        • 10 Months Ago
        @funguy6713
        You are exactly right, Corker got a bit too smart for his britches and in doing so, probably has cost the Tennessee plant work and it's future.
        Stephen
        • 10 Months Ago
        @funguy6713
        So you are implying that is a region has lower education results then unions are the only way to rectify the problem. Wow! That's convoluted logic.
        Pj Taintz
        • 10 Months Ago
        @funguy6713
        "most stupidist" Let me guess, you live there?
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      Time to dismantle the UAW.It is no longer needed.
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      Let me get this straight - Corker meddled in an election and because of him the next VW plant will be in a pro-union state, or Mexico. In other words he is a job killer. That explains the high unemployment rate in TN
      ragtopdodge
      • 10 Months Ago
      Those redneck in-bred Southern politicians are serious hypocrisy. Having the GOVERNMENT interfere with a company and its workers. If they wanted to unionize, it should be without strings attached or threats.
        Renaurd
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        If Corker had kept his lying nose out of it, the union would have passed and the plant would have prospered. Now the future of that plant is iffy at best.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 10 Months Ago
      Threats from the union? Shocking!
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