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Too late to influence the outcome of the recent election in which Tennessee Volkswagen workers narrowly rejected unionizing, the head of Volkswagen's works council issued basically the reverse of Sen. Bob Corker's claims about the election's jobs outcome. Where Corker claimed that if workers voted against the union, VW would add jobs in Tennessee, labor representative Bernd Osterloh suggested that the anti-union environment might tip the scales away from adding production in Tennessee:
"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council.
"If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW's supervisory board, said.
And unlike in the United States, where the statement "we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" makes executives guffaw into their glasses of scotch, in Germany, it has real teeth. Interestingly, Osterloh said something similar in October, as momentum grew toward a union vote. Yet opposite claims from Corker were aired much more widely in the days before and during the vote, despite Corker not actually having a say in Volkswagen's production decisions.
Worth noting: The mayor of Lansing, Michigan, has invited Volkswagen to consider locating a plant there.