Mayor Invites Volkswagen to Expand to Lansing
FOX 47 News
Photo: Video by fox47news.com
LANSING -- Will a new Volkswagen auto plant be the newest addition to Lansing? Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have threatened to take away VW's tax incentives if the workers vote to join the UAW.
Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says Volkswagen can just pack up and come to Lansing. The capital city is ready to welcome more UAW workers anytime.
When he heard about Tennessee lawmakers threatening Volkswagen over a union vote, Bernero didn't hesitate to insert himself into the argument.
"The legislature, the governor, they have the nerve threaten the support for expansion based on unionization? I was amazed by it, and then I smelled opportunity," said Bernero.
He posted on his facebook Monday saying "come to a real car town, leave Tennessee behind."
On Tuesday he sent out the formal request, and plans work with LEAP to send a whole packet of information to VW later this week.
"It's a little wild, but stranger things have happened. We're a car town. We have no problem with the unions, and we welcome all manufacturers."
Volkswagen plans to invest $7 billion in North America to build mid-size SUVs.
More than 15,000 workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga will vote later this week on joining the UAW.
Tennessee Republicans are accusing VW working arm-in-arm with the union, and are threatening to pull tax incentives. Billboards saying "UNITED OBAMA WORKERS" have been popping up all over the city trying to discourage workers.
UAW members here in mid-Michigan call it blackmail.
"It's a right to work state just like they made Michigan. It's supposed to be about people having choices. People should have a choice," said Mike Green, President of Local UAW 652.
If Tennessee politicians can't play nice with the UAW, Green also thinks VW should pack up and move North.
"Bring them up today. I'll go down and talk with them," said Green.
Bernero says he's already talked with GM, and says it wouldn't have a problem with Volkswagen building a plant in Lansing.
"If they don't want you in Tennessee believe me we'll lay down the red carpet. Our arms are wide open and we'd love to have you in Lansing," said Bernero.
In Chattanooga anti-union groups got a powerful ally Tuesday. One of Tennessee's two US senators got involved.
Republican Bob Corker urged workers to vote against unionization. He said it would hurt the pro-business culture in Chattanooga, and make it tougher to bring new jobs to the city.