AP Exclusive: US union vote won't affect VW plans

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A top labor official at Volkswagen says a decision on whether to add production to the German automaker's only U.S. plant, which is in Tennessee, won't hinge on whether workers at the plant decide to seek union representation.

Bernd Osterloh is a member of Volkswagen's supervisory board and head of the company's global "works councils," groups that negotiate plant-specific matters such as job security and working conditions. On Thursday, he visited the Chattanooga, Tenn., plant and met with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in Nashville.

In his only U.S. interview, Osterloh told The Associated Press on Thursday that while the company's culture supports the creation of works councils at all its plants, market forces — not union-related issues — will decide whether the plant is expanded.