Fleischmann, Wamp good with UAW loss

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By Damon Lawrence

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann applauded the outcome of the secret ballot election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

So did his opponent, Weston Wamp.

Employees there voted against being represented by the United Auto Workers.

“I am very happy with the results of this vote,” Fleischmann said in a prepared statement. “Volkswagen has been a wonderful part of Chattanooga, and I look forward to their continued growth.

“Tennessee has enjoyed a very strong business environment, thanks in part to our right-to-work policies.”

Fleischmann's 11-county 3rd Congressional District includes Roane and Hamilton counties. Chattanooga is located in Hamilton County.

Wamp is from Hamilton County and has a business in Chattanooga.

“Coming from the entrepreneurial community in Chattanooga, it was encouraging to see Volkswagen workers pass on the UAW,” Wamp said. “As our companies at Lamp Post Group, the incubator I helped start, continue to recruit talent from across the country to East Tennessee, I am glad that we will not have the negative UAW stamp on our city and region.”

“There is a reason why the UAW has been dying on the vine for years,” he added. “Some local unions have a reputation trying to work together with businesses, but not the UAW.”

“Fundamentally there is no need for a union at Volkswagen,” Wamp said. “The pay is good, the work environment is safe and employees are treated well. I do not think the UAW offered any upside.”

The National Labor Relations Board conducted the secret ballot election at the Chattanooga plant last week.

“They (the employees) have spoken, and Volkswagen will respect the decision of the majority,” Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and Chairman Frank Fischer said in a prepared statement.

Fischer said the car company is still interested in setting up a works council at the Chattanooga plant.

“Our employees have not made a decision that they are against a works council,” he said. “Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant. Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law to meet VW America's production needs and serve our employees' interests.”

The Volkswagen Passat is built at the Chattanooga plant.

Volkswagen also has a regional distribution center in Roane County. Those employees did not take part in the vote.