Two weeks ago, Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga voted not to unionize and become members of the United Auto Workers. So, uh, where are those plant expansion plans Sen. Bob Corker promised?
A little backstory: the VW workers rejected the chance to become UAW members after a heated battle by both the union, which is dogged by declining membership and relevance, and anti-union forces that included Republican politicians.
One of those was Corker, the junior senator from Tennessee, who promised at the last second that the plant wouldn't get to produce the upcoming three-row, seven-seat SUV probably based on the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept.
That SUV, designed for maximum American appeal, will be a really big deal for the U.S. and VW's lagging sales here, and thus a great get for the Passat-producing Chattanooga plant. But here's what Corker said on the eve of the vote, according to the AP:
''If the UAW is voted down they're going to come here immediately, within a two week period, and affirm they're going to build a line here,'' Corker told The Associated Press the day before the conclusion of the three-day vote.
''There is no way I'd put out statement like I put out unless I was 1,000 percent that it was accurate in every way,'' Corker said at the time.
Now, as that AP story points out, it's been exactly two weeks since the vote, and VW has made no announcements about where they'll expand the U.S. plant to build the SUV or send production to Mexico instead. What gives, Corker?
VW declined to comment to Jalopnik on the timing of such an announcement.
It's important to remember that VW has never said SUV production plans were in any way dependent on the union vote. Corker said that and then VW denied it; the state's governor also implied more jobs would come if the UAW was defeated. The UAW has filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board claiming these statements interfered with the vote.
And maybe they did, but my stance on this is that the UAW didn't prove their case effectively enough to VW's Tennessee workers in the first place, which made it that much easier for the anti-union side to prove theirs.
The fight definitely isn't over yet for either side. We're still waiting to see a variety of outcomes, including who gets to build the SUV.