While a setback, Tennessee vote shows union progress in the south
Around 1,500 employees at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted against joining the United Auto Workers union after a three-day vote that ended Friday.
Union support has never been strong in the southern parts of the country and employees who voted against the UAW said they didn't want the plant to follow the path of several shut-down facilities in the north.
Experts said this vote was likely the best chance for the union to garner some traction in the south. But even though the decision is a setback for union efforts, the close 712-626 vote does show some promise.
"If we had had this election five years ago, it would have been a rout no-vote, so I think the fact that it was close shows there's progress and I think keep trying and we'll get there," said Steve Siegel, Union Representative for AFSCME and Iowa Council 61.
Republicans who fought the effort told workers jobs would leave the area if employees joined the UAW. So now attention turns to whether the GOP can fulfill its promises that keeping the union out of Chattanooga means that more jobs will come rolling in.
Siegel said he does believe workers will try another vote sometime in the future.