Volkswagen management stayed neutral, saying it was up to the workers to decide. Volkswagen also urged 'third parties' to stay out of the unionization battle but, hey, that's not the way it works in the South.
Republican politicians in Tennessee as well as some outside conservative groups made sure that the plant’s nearly 1,600 workers heard plenty of anti-union arguments.
Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, warned that auto part suppliers would not locate in the Chattanooga area if the plant was unionized, while Senator Bob Corker said Volkswagen executives had told him that the plant would add a new production line, making SUVs, if the workers rejected the U.A.W. In a series of interviews this week, Mr. Corker, a Republican and a former mayor of Chattanooga, asserted that a union victory would make Volkswagen less competitive and hurt workers’ living standards.
To step up the pressure, State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned that the Republican-controlled legislature was unlikely to approve further subsidies to Volkswagen if the workers embraced the U.A.W., a threat that might discourage the company from expanding.
At the end of the day it seems the workers were effectively cowed into voting against the union. To Volkswagen's credit, the company did intervene to reject some of the Republican's arguments as fearmongering. It sounds like the herren of Wolfsburg don't quite get how things work in the Deep Dark South.