Chattanooga Volkswagen plant rejects unionization

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FILE – In this Aug. 31, 2017, file photo, workers produce vehicles at Volkswagen’s U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top Tennessee Republicans are predicting economic harm if a vote to unionize Volkswagen’s car assembly plant in Chattanooga passes. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have voted against forming a union.

A win would have offered the United Auto Workers its first fully organized, foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the traditionally anti-union South.

The vote of hourly workers began Wednesday and concluded Friday. The German automaker said in a statement Friday night that preliminary results show 833 employees voted against representation and 776 voted for it.

Gov. Bill Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and other top Republicans urged a “no” vote, saying a union could cause economic harm.

In 2014, then-U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and then-Gov. Bill Haslam helped convince Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga to vote against UAW representation.

UAW officials questioned why Chattanooga should differ from Volkswagen’s other major, union-represented plants worldwide, or Spring Hill’s General Motors plant with 3,000 UAW-represented workers.

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