Gov. Bill Lee weighs in on UAW vote during visit to Chattanooga
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made an appearance in Chattanooga Thursday to discuss strides made during his first legislative session.
He also spoke to Channel 3 and shared his thoughts on the debate over unionization for workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant.
"Reality is that it's more difficult to recruit companies to states that have higher levels of organized activity," Lee told Channel 3.
After a lot of back and forth, the fight for unionization will continue with a vote on the issue that is set to happen next month.
Governor Lee opened up on his opinions about the UAW, after visiting VW's Chattanooga assembly plant last month in secret to share his thoughts.
"It was important for me to visit that facility because it represents a significant workforce here in Chattanooga," he said.
According to the union, the proposed new bargaining unit would encompass about 1,700 workers at the plant.
"I spoke directly to the workers about our investments in workforce development, about how valuable their type of work is to our state," Lee said.
Lee told Channel 3 that VW employees are an important part of Tennessee's workforce. He believes that unionizing may not be in the state's best interest and would mean a big change for employees. He says he is opposed to the idea of workers forming a union and being represented by UAW because of future problems it could create for the state's economy.
"I think it's in the best interest of Volkswagen and really for the economics of our state that the Volkswagen plant stays a merit shop," Lee explained.
Lee says economic growth is one of his biggest priorities as governor.
"One of the things that I am most responsible for is economic development and the recruitment of companies to our state, the expansion, and development of jobs," he said.
He told Channel 3 the way to keep that growth is without union representation for workers at one of the state's largest employers.
The vote for VW employees on union representation is scheduled for June 11th through June 13th. The last time the issue was taken to a vote, it failed by a margin of 86 votes.