Posted 4/18/24

Volkswagen employees in Tennessee will begin casting ballots yesterday (Wednesday) in a vote that could make theirs the first foreign carmaker to unionize in the American South.

Hopes are high among supporters of the United Auto Workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee on the eve of the three-day vote.

The American South has historically been a dead zone for union drives in the auto industry, including at the 5,500-employee Chattanooga factory, where workers have twice previously voted down United Auto Workers representation.

But labor experts say the United Auto Workers could be poised for a historic win now.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who has spoken out against the current drive to unionize, released a joint letter with other Republican governors denouncing the United Auto Workers campaign.

Despite the opposition of Lee and other Tennessee politicians to the VW campaign, the German automaker has itself struck a tone of neutrality.

Chattanooga is the best chance the United Auto Workers has ever had in organizing a plant in the South, a United Auto Workers win would be huge, giving the United Auto Workers momentum for its other campaigns in the future.