Corker gives VW his two cents on the UAW

Just as Tennessee Senator Bob Corker appeared to be patching things up with the auto industry, he has gone on record urging Volkswagen management to avoid the UAW at its new assembly plant in his home town, Chattanooga.

Corker, R-Tenn., told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he advised VW management that “I couldn't see how there was any possibility it could be a benefit to them to enter into a contract with the UAW.”

VW is investing $1 billion to build a plant in Chattanooga, where Corker was formerly mayor. VW has maintained that it is neutral on the issue. Corker told the newspaper the UAW “breeds an us-versus-them relationship, and I just don't think it's healthy for a company to be set up in that regard.”

He stressed that he is not anti-union.

Corker miffed autoworkers around the country and in his home state back in 2008 when he attempted to dissuade Washington from providing financial assistance to keep General Motors afloat.

This summer, UAW officials and workers from GM's closed Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant greeted Corker with boos, heckling and critical words when he spoke at an announcement that GM was investing $438 million in a new engine assembly line there.

But in what appeared to be a conciliatory appearance, Corker told the hostile audience that he was eager to see GM invest more in Spring Hill to produce another vehicle there soon.

Whether he advised Volkswagen to steer clear of the union before or after he endured the boos and heckles is not clear.