VW workers react to expansion announcement
They gathered for a replay of the news conference Channel 3 had live streamed from Germany Monday morning. They got to hear for themselves the role their hard work thus far played in securing this investment for Chattanooga.
"There was a hint that this was going to be the announcement but when Dr. Winterkorn made the formal announcement everybody was standing and applauding," Volkswagen Chattanooga employee Dan Durain said.
"Now that they've actually made the announcement it's a sigh of relief for everybody and it'll be great for the community and the area," Volkswagen Chattanooga employee David Gleeson said.
Chattanoogans will make Volkswagen's new CrossBlue SUV-- words these workers have waited several months to hear.
"We were in direct competition with Mexico but we felt we always had the upper hand. Built in America for the American market," Durain said.
"It speaks strongly if they have the opinion of us that we're able to create a good enough vehicle for them to invest the amount of money that they are and to i guess trust us," Volkswagen Chattanooga employee Nathan Buoni said.
VW officials praised the quality work on the Passats that have been rolling out of the Chattanooga facility, making them confident about the future of the CrossBlue.
"Makes me feel very proud of what I've been doing," Gleeson said.
Along with that pride, is an added sense of security for current employees, like David Gleeson who moved to Chattanooga specifically for a job at VW. And it creates that opportunity for 2,000 more like him.
"It gives a lot of opportunity to actually get in here if they don't have a good job or for people that have been here for awhile to move up the ladder," Buoni said.
At last check employees at the Chattanooga facility make between $15-21 an hour, which according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is not only above average for this area, but also for the country.
The workers we spoke with say they're excited to help with any preparations they can for the expansion.