Thirteen billboards, one paint-shop worker helped defeat union at VW plant in Chattanooga

A general view of the Volkswagen plant in ChattanoogaBy Kevin Drawbaugh and Nick Carey WASHINGTON/CHATTANOOGA (Reuters) – In the aftermath of the United Auto Workers’ crushing defeat in a vote to represent workers at Volkswagen’s sole U.S. factory, a key question remains unanswered: did conservative politicians and anti-union groups work together to stymie the union? In an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board on Friday, the UAW said there was a “coordinated effort” by state politicians, anti-union groups and Tennessee’s U.S. Senator Bob Corker to coerce a no vote in the February 12-14 election. However, through the interviews a more complete picture emerges of how at least five national organizations and one grassroots group – all apparently operating independently – mounted a formidable threat to the UAW and helped thwart what many initially viewed as the favorite to win the election. How that loose coalition was able to help defeat the UAW could provide a blueprint for conservative groups to oppose the union as it presses on with its campaign for representation in its first foreign-owned auto plant in the U.S. South.

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