Ramsey Urges V-W Employees to Reject Union

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 2/04 7:26 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - One of the key players in bringing Volkswagen to Chattanooga in 2008 is urging hourly workers to reject the union.
Former Hamilton county mayor Claude Ramsey warned this morning that inviting the UAW into the plant, would discourage other companies from moving here.

Claude Ramsey was Hamilton county mayor as plans were made to turn the old Army Ammunition Plant property into Enterprise South Industrial Park.
He was in on all the negotiations to bring the only Volkswagen plant in the country to southeast Tennessee, along with thousands of jobs.

CLAUDE RAMSEY, FORMER COUNTY MAYOR   "That's been my role in government and in my life for the last 15-20 years..to try to make something happen. And, if I thought the UAW would beneficial to this community, and to the employees out there I would say that..but their track record doesn't show that."

Ramsey spent 2 years as deputy governor. He says he and Governor Bill Haslam agree a union could be  problem.

CLAUDE RAMSEY, FORMER COUNTY MAYOR  "Many suppliers have said they will not locate near a plant if the UAW organizes it..and the further they are, the higher V-W's cost will be.

A leader in the UAW's organizing efforts over the past year questioned that theory this week. 

JONATHAN WALDEN, V-W TEAM MEMBER  "I don't understand why the suppliers wouldn't come here, I mean you go where your work is."

About 1600 hourly employees at the plant will settle the union issue by secret ballot on February 12,13, and 14th.
That decision by Volkswagen to call for secret ballot put to rest the union's hope that it would recognized on the strength of signed cards from employees.

JONATHAN WALDEN  "I believe...and I know  lot of people who do believe it's the right course for us today."

CLAUDE RAMSEY  "They already have jobs with good working conditions, good benefits, and good pay.  Why would they choose to change? Why pay dues for something you already have? " 

Volkswagen is officially neutral in the organized labor debate, although all of its other plants around the world have collective bargaining.
Anti-union groups have charged VW with allowing the UAW more access to employees over the past few months.


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