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Workers reject UAW at Chattanooga Volkswagon plant

Volkswagon workers held a vote to join the UAW on Friday, February 14, 2014.
Volkswagon workers held a vote to join the UAW on Friday, February 14, 2014.
Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

Workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. voted to reject a union on Friday night. The vote had garnered national attention as Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and President Barack Obama weighed in on the issue prior to the vote.

Ballots were cast starting on Wednesday and closed Friday night and from the roughly 1,500 workers at the Chattanooga, Tenn. plant the UAW (United Auto Workers) union was rejected by a final vote of 712-626.

"We think it was unfortunate that there was outside influence," said Gary Casteel. UAW regional director who led the unsuccessful campaign. "I want to urge the VW employees to go back to the business of building cars. There are some issues to be sorted out."

Corker and Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam urged Volkswagen workers to reject the UAW. One leader of the Republican-controlled Tennessee state Senate threatened this week to block any tax incentives for future Volkswagen investment in Chattanooga if a majority of workers voted for the union.

On Friday, President Barack Obama had weighed in on the issue in support of the UAW. Mr. Obama blasted Sen. Corker and Gov. Haslam and stated the two Republicans were more concerned with German shareholders than American workers.

As news of the defeat broke, the UAW tweeted this simple message:

#UAWVW vote loses but the workers and the company both handled the process well. Outside interference was an outrage, however. #UAWVW @UAW