Thu April 17, 2014
U.S. House Democrats Open Inquiry Into Chattanooga VW Union Vote
The Haslam administration's role in opposing unionization at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant is at the center of an inquiry launched by Democrats in the U.S. House.
A letter sent to Haslam from Representatives George Miller (D-California) and John Tierney (D-Massachusetts) asks for information on conditions that may have been attached to a $300 million tax incentives package that was at stake in the months before February's unionization vote. Documents obtained by a Nashville TV station in March showed the Haslam administration threatened to withhold the incentives package unless the union vote was "concluded to the satisfaction of the state of Tennessee." The package offer was taken off the table in January.
The letter from Miller and Tierney said conditions attached the deal may have violated the National Labor Relations Act.
"Both before and during the vote on whether or not to unionize, third parties made public comments that were clearly meant to sabotage a fair election," the letter read.
Asked by reporters earlier this month, Haslam said he was always clear in his opposition to the Volkswagen plant, but that no one threatened the German automaker over the union vote. Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner called for a state-level look into the allegations. State House Speaker Beth Harwell declined, saying she saw no evidence of wrongdoing.