Governor Says VW Incentives Not Tied To New UAW Deal
by Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday that his administration is giving Volkswagen almost $180 million in incentives -- regardless of any deal it might work out with the United Auto Workers.
That marks a major reversal of policy.
Earlier this week, Haslam and Volkswagen officials announced a deal to expand the company's plant in Chattanooga, adding 2,000 new jobs.
But our NewsChannel 5 investigation had discovered a confidential document where another incentive offer a year ago was made contingent upon the Haslam administration's "satisfaction" with the company's deal with the UAW.
At a news conference, NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked the governor, "Are there any strings attached to this deal?"
"Zero, zero," he insisted. "We've been in on-going conversations really since March or April with Volkswagen. Never has the union been part of the discussion or been a factor in the equation about the discussion."
The UAW has begun a new organizing effort at the Volkswagen plant.
Union leaders said they expect they'll soon become part of a workers' council that helps run the plant.