Pro and Con union supporters speak out before next week’s Volkswagen vote

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – United Auto Workers tried to drum up more support leading into a Unionization vote next week with a press event today.

Several pro-union Volkswagen employees were present to speak to members of the media including national news outlets by phone.

News 12’s Ashley Henderson has reaction from both sides.

The last vote to unionize the plant 5 years ago was a close one.

712 against… to 626 in favor.

Next week’s scheduled vote to unionize production workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga, will be be held from Wednesday through Friday.

Matt Sexton is one of the Volkswagen workers at the UAW-organized press event today.

He explained his support for the union.

“A victory for us would be big, it’s uh, there’s a lot of change that needs to happen within the plant. Our PTO needs to be changed, our bonus system needs to be changed, just general respect within the plant from leadership needs to be changed.”

Taylor Fugate doesn’t like the tone of those who are fighting the unionization effort.

“If it was like a normal conversation or a normal election, we could give pros and cons about each side, but don’t try to provoke fear on people that we would lose our jobs, or that we would get harassed, that the economy in Chattanooga would just fail.”

Anti-union employees have reasons for their opposition, like Brandi Gengler.

“You can’t even pump gas anymore without hearing the commercials.  Just back off, if you’ve dropped from a million and a half members, to three hundred and seventy-five thousand, that tells you there’s a problem.”

Carol Gruber says a union may cost employees in a different way.

“Unfortunately, everything that we’re offered comes in one pie. And something’s going to get taken away, your lease vehicle, or less pay for different benefits.”

Maury Nicely is a Chattanooga attorney who is representing the group called Southern Momentum.

It’s made up VW employees who are opposed to the UAW.

He says it was a close vote last time.

“It was close, we expect this election to be close.”

Nicely explains that it can potentially affect many more people than just the VW employees.

“It’s not simply a matter of saying ‘Well, if the union comes in I won’t join.’, what happens here is critical for these workers, their families, the suppliers, or community, this is a big, this is a big event, and I think should be taken very seriously by everyone.”

In Chattanooga, Ashley Henderson, News 12 Now.

Categories: Business, Chattanooga, Jobs & Economy, Local News