DETROIT Feb 13 German automaker Volkswagen AG
, in a brief but bluntly worded statement Thursday,
said a vote this week on union representation at its
Chattanooga, Tennessee plant would have no bearing on whether it
will build a new crossover vehicle there.
The statement counters U.S. Senator Bob Corker's
announcement yesterday that he had been "assured" that if
workers at the Chattanooga factory reject United Auto Worker
representation, the company would reward the plant with a new
product to build.
"There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees'
decision about whether to be represented by a union and the
decision about where to build a new product for the U.S.
market," said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen
Chattanooga in a statement early Thursday.
Corker, a Republican senator from Tennessee, made the
assertion, which ran counter to previous public statements by
VW, on the first of a three-day secret ballot election of
blue-collar workers at the Chattanooga plant on whether to allow
the UAW to represent them.
Corker has long been an opponent of the union, which he says
hurts economic and job growth in Tennessee, a charge that UAW
officials say is untrue.
"I've had conversations today and based on those am assured
that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will
announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new
mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," said Corker Wednesday,
without saying with whom he held the conversations.