asks to delay Volkswagen hearing, cites anti-union collusion
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[April 02, 2014]
By Amanda Becker and Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) — The United Auto Workers (UAW) on Tuesday asked a U.S.
agency to stay an April 21 hearing related to a mid-February union
vote it lost at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, citing what it called
new evidence of collusion between Republican lawmakers and
The union was referring to a report aired on Nashville's
NewsChannel5 late on Monday that cited email exchanges between
anti-union groups, members of the staffs of Tennessee Gov. Bill
Haslam and U.S. Senator Bob Corker and other public officials.
According to the broadcast, the correspondence showed that Haslam's
administration offered $300 million in economic incentives to help
VW expand its operations in Chattanooga so long as the plant did not
The parties also discussed anti-UAW messaging strategies in the days
leading up to the union vote, according to the report.
The UAW told the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in its filing
on Tuesday that the news report was further evidence that outside
groups were working on behalf of politicians who oppose organized
Tennessee Democrats called for a full investigation of the
Volkswagen financial incentives initiative, called "Project
Trinity", and questioned why the documents in the broadcast had not
been produced when legislators filed a request last September for
public documents related to the election.
Clint Brewer, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of
Economic and Community Development, said in a statement on Tuesday,
"The offer did not preclude the creation of a works council or union
representation as a condition for the incentives."
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He said the incentive offer had been withdrawn in January before the
UAW filed for an election at the plant.
Last September, Rep. Mike Turner, head of the Democratic Caucus in
the Tennessee House, requested that Haslam release documents of
communication between the governor's office and VW officials
regarding incentives. At the time, the governor's office said it
would work to fulfill Turner's request.
On Tuesday, Turner asked the leader of the Republican-controlled
Tennessee house for an investigation into the incentives issue.
Large auto plants in the United States generally receive large tax
breaks and other incentives from states where they are located.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Bernie Woodall;
editing by Toni
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