CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – On the first day of voting Wednesday, Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini joined workers from UAW Local 1853 from Spring Hill outside the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
“I’m here to support the workers and the UAW and their quest to have a voice at Volkswagen,” Mancini said.
Mancini said it’s that collective voice from a union that’s needed at the facility.
And feels there should be a partnership between the union and the plant.
“It’s not about one having more power than the other. It’s about actually working together to do what’s best for the state of Tennessee and we all do better when we all do better,” Mancini said.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, (R) Tennessee shared different views.
“I would respectfully urge a ‘no’ vote. I do not think Volkswagen needs the UAW, needs a union right now. Tennessee has opened its arms as a right to work state to Volkswagen,” U.S. Rep. Fleischmann said.
The Congressman said that a union could have an impact on economic growth in the south and Tennessee.
“Tennessee has had a strong position as a right to work state. We’ve attracted more business. Where we’ve seen traditionally heavy union activity, we’ve seen companies leave. We’ve seen companies sometimes shutdown,” U.S. Rep. Fleischmann said.
A UAW spokesperson said that 13 percent of the UAW’s membership is in the American south.
The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga is the only VW plant in the United States.
According to the UAW, it is also the only VW plant in the world without union representation.
The election runs through Friday.