U.S. Senator Bob Corker is commenting on the United Auto Workers' withdrawal of their appeal of the recent UAW vote at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant. "It's time for VW, our state and our community to re-engage and move forward with bringing additional jobs to Chattanooga," Corker said in a statement this morning.
In February, the UAW had sought to unionize the plant and narrowly lost in a 712-626 vote. The UAW then appealed the vote, saying that Corker and other politicians had interfered.
An NLRB hearing was scheduled to begin in Chattanooga this morning. Shortly before the vote, however, the UAW withdrew their objection.
Corker claims the UAW objections were a "sideshow," and that the UAW would lose by an even larger margin if the NLRB had ordered a re-vote at the plant.
"This 11th hour reversal by the UAW affirms what we have said all along -- that their objection was nothing more than a sideshow to draw attention away from their stinging loss in Chattanooga," Corker said.
Corker and other politicians had claimed future plant expansion was contingent on the vote. During the election, Corker said if workers rejected the UAW, Volkswagen would choose the Chattanooga plant to build a new SUV line. State lawmakers such as State Senator Bo Watson also claimed that additional incentives for the Chattanooga plant would have a "very tough time" passing the Tennessee Senate, if the plant had unionized.
Although the union was rejected, Chattanooga has yet to be chosen for the new SUV line.
The UAW plans to ask Congress to examine the use of federal funds in the state incentives contingent on the vote.
UAW President Bob King said in a press release, “The unprecedented political interference by Gov. Haslam, Sen. Corker and others was a distraction for Volkswagen employees and a detour from achieving Tennessee’s economic priorities."
King also said the UAW is "ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga.”