The governors of six southern states warn workers against joining the UAW union

In a high-profile effort to block unionization of their states' auto industries, the governors of six southern states warned their residents that joining the United Auto Workers would threaten jobs and “the values ​​we live by.”

The joint statement by Republican governors comes a day before a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted to join the UAW — the first of more than a dozen factories targeted in the South as the union tries to crack down. Outside of its Midwest stronghold.

The governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas said, “The reality is that companies have choices about where to invest and bring jobs and opportunities. wrote. “Unification will certainly put jobs in our states at risk.”

The significant intervention follows signs of optimism among pro-union workers at the VW plant. It will begin on Wednesday and last for three days, with results expected late Friday.

“They're very scared,” UAW strategist Chris Brooks said wrote Alabama Governor Kay Ivey retweeted the statement on social media. The union otherwise had no comment.

An economist who has closely studied unionization in the South called the report “unprecedented and shocking” and said it discouraged workers from exercising their legal right to organize.

“This indicates that governors fear that the UAW will win the upcoming union recognition election and that a UAW victory could upend their economic models built on relatively low wages and minimal worker voice,” American University professor Stephen Silvia said by email. .

The Tennessee Republican helped defeat two UAW attempts to unionize a VW factory in 2014 and 2019, and has stepped up his opposition through news conferences and public statements in recent weeks. During a visit to Chattanooga this month, Gov. Bill Lee said joining the union was “a big mistake.”

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Some news outlets emphasize that the UAW has endorsed President Biden and has long ties to the Democratic Party.

“We have serious reservations about the UAW leadership being able to represent our values. They proudly call themselves democratic socialists and are more focused on helping to re-elect President Biden than on cutting auto worker jobs at the plants they already represent,” the governors wrote.

Some VW workers told The Washington Post this month that they wanted politicians to stay out of the matter and leave it to employees.

Democratic politicians have voiced support for the UAW. Democratic state senators in Tennessee took to social media on Tuesday to criticize the Republican governor. “Autoworkers in the South are poised to make history this week. #StandUp, Chattanooga!” Sen. London Lamar posted.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, state facing UAW organizing effort at Toyota plant in Georgetown Social media He said last week that unions have improved workers' living standards and that he is “proud to stand shoulder to shoulder” with the UAW.

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