April 4, 2014
Report: Gov. Bill Haslam offered $300 million for a ‘NO’ vote
“Tennesee taxpayer money was used to influence the outcome of the UAW vote,” says MSNBC host Ed Schultz, based on reporting by Nashville television reporter Phil Williams:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam linked $300 million in economic incentives for Volkswagen to the defeat of a unionization effort at the VW factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., according to newly revealed state records.
Documents from Haslam labeled “confidential” show a breakdown of cash and tax credits offered to the German automaker that were contingent upon “works council discussions between the State of Tennessee and VW being concluded to the satisfaction” of the state. The documents were obtained by Phil Williams, chief investigative reporter at Nashville television station WTVF.
The accusation of taxpayer-funded union busting coming out of the Tennessee governor’s mansion comports to assertions made by U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker, during the vote that if the workers rejected representation by the UAW, Volkswagen would expand operations in Chattanooga to include a new SUV assembly line. Sen. Corker never revealed his source at the time.
Ironically, since the narrow loss of UAW at the Chattanooga plant, Volkswagen union leader in Germany says if VW plants in the United States are not going to have VW Works Councils, which would require union representation under U.S. law, then maybe there shouldn’t be any more VW plants built in the United States.
Anti-union forces are afraid that a new southern workers movement could undermine their power base in the South. “That’s why they have to fight something like the VW campaign so hard,” said Chris Kromm at our Organize the South panel at Duke.