Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Joins Group of Governors in Opposing UAW’s Unionization Campaign

Bill Lee Volkswagen

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee joined the governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas in issuing a joint statement in opposition of the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) unionization campaign.

The coalition of governors said it is “highly concerned” about the unionization campaign, adding such efforts are “driven by misinformation and scare tactics.”

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United Auto Workers’ Push for Unionization in Tennessee Sets Up Industry Disruption, Expert Says

Volkswagen Plant Chattanooga

After recent wins, the United Auto Workers (UAW) looks poised to take on the non-unionized automakers and, if successful, could disrupt the whole industry.

The UAW recently filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which employs around 4,000 autoworkers, as it looks to expand its reach to other automakers. A successful union vote in Chattanooga could be a key stepping stone in the UAW’s effort to break into the currently non-unionized auto plants, especially in the south, which has historically been less receptive to unions, all the while the UAW is being emboldened by labor-friendly regulators from the Biden administration, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Chattanooga Volkswagen Employees File Petition for Vote to Join United Auto Workers Union

Volkswagen Chattanooga

Volkswagen employees at a plant in Chattanooga have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on whether workers will join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. 

“The milestone marks the first non-union auto plant to file for a union election among the dozens of auto plants where workers have been organizing in recent months,” UAW said in a press release. “The grassroots effort sprang up in the wake of the record victories for Big Three autoworkers in the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike win.”

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Vinnie Vernuccio Says New Attempt to Unionize the Chattanooga Volkswagen Plant Seems to be ‘Failing’

Vinnie Vernuccio, president of the Institute for the American Worker, said workers’ latest attempts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga appear to be “failing.”

On Monday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced that a group of Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a vote to join the labor union.

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UAW Says Majority of Workers at Tennessee Volkswagen Plant Have Voted to Unionize

According to a statement from United Auto Workers (UAW), more than half of the employees at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant have voted to unionize. 

“A majority of workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant have signed cards to join the UAW, less than sixty days after the workers announced their campaign to form a union at the German automaker’s only US assembly plant,” according to a UAW press release.

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Automakers’ Push to Remove AM Radio in New Cars Gets Pushback from Hannity to Hill

Video didn’t kill the radio star. But auto manufacturers might, as they consider eliminating AM radio from new vehicles in their transition from gas- to electric-powered fleets.

Manufacturers such as BMW, Mazda, Tesla, and Volkswagen are taking AM radio out of new electric vehicles over concerns their engines will interfere with how AM stations sound, according to The Washington Post.

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Ferris State University Responds to Gotion Controversy

In a video posted on YouTube, Ferris State University President Bill Pink says the university hasn’t discussed housing Chinese nationalists to work at the nearby electric vehicle battery plant.

Pink posted the video on March 23 to dispel rumors surrounding the planned Gotion electric vehicle battery plant. Last week, The Center Square reported that the company – with $1.14 billion of state and local backing – must adhere to communist rules.

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Massive Volkswagen Plant in Chattanooga Begins Producing Electric Vehicles

A German automobile manufacturer with a plant in Chattanooga Wednesday announced that that location has become the first company’s first site in the United States to solely produce electric vehicles. 

“We’re just starting to write a new chapter for Volkswagen in America, and it is very much an American story,” said Thomas Schäfer, global  Chairman of the Volkswagen. “When we promised to bring Volkswagen EVs to the millions, it always included American workers building those EVs right there in Chattanooga. We couldn’t be prouder to see that vision realized today with our ID.4 electric flagship rolling off the lines. This is another milestone in Volkswagen’s ambitious electrification strategy for the U.S. market and globally.”

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Volkswagen Settles Lawsuit with Ohio over Environmental Claims

Volkswagen will pay the state of Ohio $3.5 million in a lawsuit settlement over claims the company violated state environmental laws by manipulating computer software in its cars to hide carbon dioxide emissions, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced.

The settlement ends a lawsuit filed in 2016 by the attorney general’s office. It is separate from a lawsuit filed the same year by the attorney general’s office on behalf of consumers who claim they were misled by Volkswagen’s assertions of vehicle performance.

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Luxury Car Sales Surge Amid Global Supply Chain Disruptions and Surging Inflation

blue Rolls Royce at a dealership

Luxury car sales surged in 2021 while mainstream car companies struggled amid global supply chain disruptions and soaring inflation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Luxury car brands, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Porsche and BMW, all reported record sales in 2021, the WSJ reported. Reduced international travel reportedly encouraged high-end car users to boost their vehicle purchases.

Meanwhile, the auto industry was crushed by supply chain bottlenecks and worsening chip shortages causing companies to curb production, the WSJ reported.

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Northam Awards $9.4 Million from Volkswagen Lawsuit Funds to Electrify Diesel Fleets at IAD, Fairfax County, and Amherst County

Governor Ralph Northam awarded $9.4 million to fund electrification of government-owned vehicle fleets for Dulles International Airport, Fairfax County, and Amherst County. The funds are part of the Clean Air Communities Program (CACP) and is funded by the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust (VEMT). Along with the $9.4 million awards, Northam announced a second round of funding, an additional $20 million, to electrify school buses.

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Governor Ralph Northam Signs Major New Clean Car Standards Bill

Governor Ralph Northam announced newly-signed legislation Friday that will require approximately eight percent of model year 2025 vehicles sold in Virginia to be zero-emissions vehicles. HB 1965, introduced by Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico), adds Virginia to the list of states following California’s vehicle emissions standards, which are stricter than the federal standards Virginia currently follows.

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Volkswagen of Chattanooga Reportedly Does Not Pay School Property Taxes

  Government officials have reportedly given Volkswagen of Chattanooga a mind-boggling and generous incentives package, so much so it does not even have to pay school property taxes. This, according to Helen Burns Sharp, founder of the Chattanooga-based Accountability for Taxpayer Money. According to ATM’s website, members of the group want local elected officials to reform the current system for granting property tax breaks. “Did you know that Volkswagen does not pay its school property taxes in full because of a sweetheart arrangement whereby its storm water fee is paid from those school taxes?” Sharp asked in a column published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press. Sharp called the Volkswagen package “overly generous.” “Land, site preparation and cash grants of more than $50 million are part of the deal, in addition to a tax break agreement that lasts a very long time (until 2040.) Last year alone, our local governments abated $17.5 million in property taxes. VW will not pay any taxes to support police, fire, streets, parks, etc. until 2040,” Sharp wrote. “By 2040, the total amount of VW tax incentives the city and county will have granted could approach $500 million in lost property tax revenue. The state…

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Volkswagen Chattanooga Workers Vote No on United Auto Workers

  Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the United Auto Workers, has released a statement concerning the results of the election at the facility. Workers rejected the UAW this week by a vote of 833 to 776. “We could not be more excited about the outcome of the election,” the workers said. “We are happy for our families, for Volkswagen Chattanooga, and for our community. What started as just a handful of us grew into a force of hardworking employees determined to better educate voters about the decision before them. And now all of us have spoken. We are grateful for those in the community who rallied behind our efforts and thankful to our fellow workers who joined us along the way. We will continue to advocate for the best interests of our families and for the future of Volkswagen Chattanooga and look forward to getting back to what we do best: working as one team to build quality cars.” As The Tennessee Star reported, one of the primary people fighting for the United Auto Workers to set up shop at Volkswagen Chattanooga reportedly had to settle a slander suit for his part in a nasty mudslinging campaign…

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Experts Say UAW Treats Volkswagen Chattanooga as Adversary

  Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the United Auto Workers, this week responded after Automotive News reported the UAW is “disputing whether the automaker is maintaining its neutrality.” This, according to a press release the group put out this week. “Here we go again,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who has worked with anti-UAW team members since 2014. “While the UAW has tried to distance itself from attacks on the company by the Center for VW Facts, the union itself is treating Volkswagen as an adversary. The UAW has been provided with an unprecedented hands-off approach from Volkswagen, yet they are still attacking the company. We are glad voting is underway and are hopeful workers have seen that the UAW is not here to be a partner to the company and our community. They are simply here to knock Volkswagen down and collect membership dues to send back to Detroit.” As of 8 p.m. Central Friday night, a final vote tally was not officially announced. As The Tennessee Star reported, one of the primary people fighting for the United Auto Workers to set up shop at Volkswagen Chattanooga reportedly had to…

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Key Figure Trying to Get UAW to Come to Volkswagen Chattanooga Reportedly Had to Settle Slander Suit

  One of the primary people fighting for the United Auto Workers to set up shop at Volkswagen Chattanooga reportedly had to settle a slander suit for his part in a nasty mudslinging campaign in Michigan. This, according to this week’s Washington Free Beacon. Joe DiSano, a Michigan political consultant, heads up the Center for VW Facts. DiSano reportedly accused VW of waging a “deceptive campaign to discourage employees” from becoming the first UAW plant in the right-to-work state. “DiSano would know a thing or two about ‘deceptive’ campaigns. During a 2012 Democratic primary for a Michigan statehouse seat, he circulated a robocall accusing one of the candidates of ‘using the internet to lure young girls into nude modeling sessions at his home,’ where he took “dirty pictures in his basement,’” The Washington Free Beacon reported. “The target of those robocalls lost the race and later filed a defamation suit seeking to clear his name. A judge dismissed DiSano’s First Amendment defense and the two parties settled. As part of the settlement agreement DiSano agreed to circulate a new robocall correcting the previous mudslinging and issue public apologies in two newspapers.” Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the…

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Volkswagen Chattanooga Employee Releases Testimonial Against the UAW

  This week, Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the United Auto Workers, released the first in a series of worker testimonial videos regarding the upcoming election at the facility. “It’s time for the attacks to stop,” says Carol Gruber, a team leader at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “It’s time to build that quality car that gives us a paycheck in our bank account every two weeks. It’s time to stop so we can move forward and build the quality car that we know we can build. I am Volkswagen. And when you’re attacking Volkswagen, you’re attacking me, my friends, and my family.” Gruber has worked at Volkswagen for eight years, according to a press release. “I’ve worked a lot around all the areas, so I see how some are concerned about the union coming in. They are making promises that, unfortunately, it’s not really a promise. It’s, ‘We can possible get you this,’ or, ‘possibly get you that.’ Unfortunately, everything that we’re offered comes in one pile and something’s going to get taken away – your leased vehicle or less pay for different benefits. If it wasn’t for Volkswagen, I wouldn’t have what I have today.…

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Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Workers Speak Out Against UAW

  A grassroots group of Volkswagen Chattanooga workers who oppose the United Auto Workers spoke out this week against the union’s efforts to set up shop at their factory. The group, Southern Momentum, released the following statement in response to an advertisement paid for by the Center for VW Facts that appeared in The Chattanooga Times Free Press last week. The Center for VW facts was created by a UAW member and Michigan political consultant, according to a press release. “Thousands of Chattanooga families depend on the success of Volkswagen Chattanooga and our suppliers, and by tearing down the company, the UAW and its cronies are showing yet again that they do not care about our future,” said CB Bitten, a team leader at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “The disgusting public attacks and increasing intimidation and harassment are desperate and sickening but not at all surprising given the UAW’s track record.” Southern Momentum first formed ahead of the 2014 election at the Volkswagen Chattanooga facility, which the UAW lost by a vote of 712 to 626. As The Tennessee Star reported, this time around, UAW officials are seeking outside help to set a foothold in Chattanooga. When asked about this, a spokesman for the…

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United Auto Workers Step Up Efforts at Volkswagen Chattanooga

  The United Auto Workers are renewing their efforts to set up shop at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, and this time they’re seeking outside help. When asked about this, a spokesman for the Virginia-based National Right to Work Foundation said “the scandal-ridden union bosses at the UAW really have no shame at all.” According to its website, the NRTWC is a nonprofit tasked with eliminating coercive union power and compulsory unionism abuses. “After the Volkswagen workers’ 2014 vote to reject the union, UAW officials sought to overturn their vote on the grounds that workers heard too much information that was critical of unionization from elected leaders from Tennessee,” said NRTWC spokesman Patrick T. Semmens, in an emailed statement to The Tennessee Star. “Now the very same UAW officials have three UAW-funded out-of-state Senators attempting to interfere with the NLRB’s own established procedures for dealing with election petitions.” According to The Memphis Commercial Appeal, those three U.S. senators, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan; and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, have questioned Volkswagen about the matter. “You have to wonder whether the UAW hierarchy knows more details are coming out soon about their massive embezzlement and corruption scandal, and this whole…

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Fight to Stop UAW at Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant Gets Underway

  A plan is underway to fight efforts to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. Paydayreport.com this week profiled Rick Berman, reportedly an anti-union lawyer from New York, tasked with defeating the United Auto Workers’ efforts to unionize at Volkswagen-Chattanooga. The stakes, according to the website, are high. “A win at the German-owned automaker would be the UAW’s first successful union organizing drive at the foreign-owned auto plant in the South,” Paydayreport.com said. “A win there would give a massive boost to workers in the South who have sought unsuccessfully to organize the growing auto industry in the region.” Berman told the website “we are looking at all of the misbehavior and the fraud practiced on the UAW members that have only recently come to light, and we are giving it some exposure,” Berman said. Berman specifically referenced ads that Paydayreport.com said highlight  “the conviction of 4 top UAW officials for accepting $4.5 million in bribes from Chrysler in exchange for taking concessions from the company at the bargaining table behind the backs of their members.” “The ads, which first appeared in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press as well as in the Detroit Free Press this weekend, focus heavily on how the UAW has had to spend…

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Volkswagen Hires Retired Sen. Corker’s Former Chief of Staff Womack to Handle Lobbying

Volkswagen hired Bob Corker’s former chief of staff, Todd Womack, to do lobbying on trade matters, proving that working as a public servant can pay off. Womack made the announcement Friday on Twitter: “Excited to be working with @VW.” He is president and CEO of Bridge Public Affairs, a lobbying firm created by former Corker staffers including Womack, who has worked with Corker since he was mayor of Chattanooga. Excited to be working with @VW pic.twitter.com/jrSA0FFP6T — Todd Womack (@TWchatt) March 30, 2019 Terms of Womack’s’ deal are not known, but Volkswagen spent $1 million last year on lobbying, Politico said. Corker was a U.S. senator (R-TN) when Volkswagen selected Chattanooga in 2008 for its assembly plant, the Chattanoogan said. The plant received “attractive” state subsidies, the Chattanoogan said: Volkswagen of America received an attractive, comprehensive package of incentives for the new facility from Gov. Bredesen’s office and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, it was stated. The statutory incentives are tied to job creation and capital investment. Additional support includes assistance for public infrastructure and job training, each designed to ensure the local economy best leverages Volkswagen’s investment to benefit the local work force and ensure the…

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US Regulators Charge Volkswagen, Ex-CEO With Defrauding Investors

U.S. regulators charged Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn with defrauding investors during its massive diesel emissions scandal. The charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission come two years after the German automaker settled with the U.S. over criminal and civil charges, as the company tries to distance itself from one if its darkest eras. The SEC said that between April 2014 and May 2015, Volkswagen issued more than $13 billion in bonds and asset-backed securities in U.S. markets when senior executives knew that more than 500,000 vehicles in the country grossly exceeded legal vehicle emissions limits. Volkswagen made false and misleading statements to investors and underwriters about vehicle quality, environmental compliance, and the company’s financial standing, which gave Volkswagen a financial benefit when it issued securities at more attractive rates for the company, according to the SEC. “Volkswagen hid its decade-long emissions scheme while it was selling billions of dollars of its bonds to investors at inflated prices,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division. In September 2015 Volkswagen installed software on more than 475,000 cars that enabled them to cheat on emissions tests, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The software reduced nitrogen oxide emissions…

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Electric Cars Fizzle in Cold Weather, Even as Tennessee Tries to Prop Up Industry

Even as Tennessee government officials have a history of trying to prop up the electric car industry, members of the American Automobile Association say cold weather dramatically saps how well electric cars work. This, according to a new article on Foxbusiness.com “The data released Thursday found 20-degree weather can temporarily reduce electric car batteries range by more than 40 percent when interior car heaters are used,” according to the network’s website. Foxbusiness.com quoted AAA Director of Automotive Engineering Greg Bannon saying drivers should understand “there are limitations when operating electric vehicles in more extreme climates.” “The motor club association tested five electric vehicles, including the 2018 model year BMWi3s, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf and 2017 model year Tesla Model S75D and Volkswagen e-Golf.” “The tests also found that in addition to temperature drops during a cold snap, high temperatures can also cut into the battery range. At 95 degrees, electric car ranges fell by 17 percent when the cabin’s air conditioning was used and by 4 percent when it was not used.” As The Tennessee Star reported this month, Tennessee officials reportedly made concessions to Volkswagen to get the company to construct a new electric vehicle plant in Chattanooga, State residents may not…

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Tennessee Investments in Electric Cars Don’t Seem to Have the Best Track Record

Some research shows manufacturers of electric cars wouldn’t make a tidy profit in a pure free market system because, at least right now, there isn’t enough demand for that product. So that’s why government gets involved. Tennessee officials have done a lot this decade to help subsidize and promote electric cars, and they’ve reportedly done so again. As The Tennessee Star reported, state officials have given Volkswagen some type of concessions to compel the company to build electric cars in Chattanooga. As Nashville Public Radio reported, state officials spent years pitching the state as Volkswagen’s best choice for an electric car manufacturing facility. “Drew Frye, Technology Innovation Engineer at TVA, confirms the utility and other transportation stakeholders have met for several years to build out the state’s electric vehicle network,” according to Nashville Public Radio. The state’s Department of Environment and Conservation, the radio network went on report, helped make the pitch to Volkswagen. As The Tennessee Star reported last fall, former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said in 2010 that during the coming decade we’d see a surge of electric vehicles on the state’s roads and highways. So certain of it, he handed out $2.5 million in government money…

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Volkswagen Reportedly Demanded Things from Tennessee Officials Before Announcing Chattanooga Electric Car Plant

Tennessee officials reportedly made concessions to Volkswagen to get the company to construct a new electric vehicle plant in Chattanooga, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press. But, as the paper went on to say, state residents may not yet see a list of those concessions, which are apparently financial. For that, they will have to wait until new Republican Gov. Bill Lee presents his first proposed state budget in March, according to the paper. Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe told the paper Lee will deliver that proposed budget March 4. “Rolfe’s comments came following his budget presentation to Lee in which he asked for a $126.2 million increase in departmental spending for the 2019-2020 budget, which would take effect July 1,” according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press. “The VW project wasn’t included. The commissioner said the amount was determined as part of the negotiations with the German auto manufacturer.” Rolfe told the paper that Volkswagen officials “wanted a definitive number before they made a commitment to expand in Tennessee.” “We are aware they (Volkswagen) had conversations with a couple of other states.” Rolfe told The Chattanooga Times Free Press. As The Tennessee Star reported, last…

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Detroit Auto Show, and Industry, Prepare for Transition

The auto industry gathered in Detroit on Sunday, on the eve of the last winter edition of North America’s premiere auto show, as carmakers grapple with a contracting market and uncertainty in the year ahead. Concerns over the health of the global economy and a US-China trade war loomed over the North American International Auto Show, as it prepared to open Monday with the first five days dedicated to the media and industry insiders. The show opens to the general public on January 19. While a number of major announcements were expected – including an anticipated strategic alliance between Ford and Volkswagen – there will be fewer automakers and new car unveilings, making it more subdued. “This is a transition year for the Detroit show,” said analyst Michelle Krebs of Autotrader. “It’s kind of emblematic of where the industry is. We’re in a transition in the industry.” After a 10-year boom, analysts expect North American auto sales to contract in 2019, as consumers face pressures and carmakers grapple with multiple uncertainties. Rising interest rates and car prices have squeezed car buyers, and fewer of them are able to afford increasingly pricey, technology-heavy cars. Kelley Blue Book predicted the average new-car…

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Volkswagen to Funnel $800 Million into Chattanooga Plant to Build Electric Vehicles as President Trump Pressures German Companies to Invest in America

Volkswagen will spend $800 million to expand its Chattanooga factory to become the German company’s North American hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, and the Scenic City may want to thank President Donald Trump. VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess made the announcement at a presentation at the Detroit Auto Show Monday, TechCrunch said. The expansion is expected to create 1,000 jobs at the Chattanooga plant. The German company is moving away from diesel following the 2015 emissions cheating scandal. VW Group plans to spend nearly $50 billion in the next five years toward the development and production of electric vehicles and digital services, TechCrunch said. VW’s news means another feather in Tennessee’s cap for a growing automotive industry. In response to VW’s announcement, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said in a statement, “This follows General Motors’ announcement yesterday that it will produce its new Cadillac XT6 crossover in Spring Hill. The Middle Tennessee location is the product of an over $2 billion investment since 2010. It is the largest GM facility in North America at 7.1 million square feet and has brought 3,400 jobs to the area. “Volkswagen and General Motors’ decisions are further proof that Tennessee workers and our business friendly climate…

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Tennessee Officials Gave Volkswagen Huge Subsidies, Report Says

Tennessee Capital building

The state of Tennessee has thus far given Volkswagen $818.8 million in corporate subsidies, going back several years. Nissan, meanwhile, got $536.7 million. DowDuPont received $486.7 million in subsidies. These are among the latest updates from Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based policy resource center that monitors corporate subsidies nationwide. The group runs a national database of state, local and federal economic development incentive awards. For Tennessee, the organization also called out Electrolux, Wacker Chemie, HCA Holdings, Hankook Tire, Dell Technologies, TRT Holdings, and Eastman Chemical for taking state subsidies ranging from $120 million to $232 million. Tennessee was one of several states getting the fine-tooth comb treatment. “In this round, we added records from 61 state and local programs from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah,” Good Jobs First said in a press release. The Good Jobs First update included seven new megadeals. “Some are for well-known deals such as the $900 million award for Toyota- Mazda in Alabama, but others cover less well-known deals such as the $618 million from Michigan to Bedrock Detroit for an urban redevelopment project in the city ($256.3 million of that will…

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Volkswagen’s ‘Diesel-Gate’ Hits Tennessee As Company Plans to Dump Hundreds of Thousands of ‘Fixed’ Cars in U.S.

Martin Winterkorn

Will hundreds of thousands of Volkswagen diesel vehicles that have been the subject of U.S. and international criminal and civil actions after it was discovered that the vehicles had been rigged to “cheat” emissions testing soon be sold in Tennessee? It appears so, though few state or federal officials seem to be engaged in the issue on behalf of Tennessee consumers and business owners at this point. In June, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen $1.2 billion for rigging diesel engine emissions testing around the world. The prosecutor noted in making the announcement that it was one of the highest fines ever imposed on a company in Germany. Volkswagen accepted the penalty, which related to inadequate oversight in the department that develops powertrains — engines and transmission systems. Approximately 10.7 million vehicles were sold to customers in the United States, Canada and worldwide “with an impermissible software function in the period from mid-2007 until 2015,” Volkswagen said in a statement acknowledging their role in what has been dubbed “Diesel-gate.” Last year Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion in U.S. criminal and civil fines for the company’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.  A federal grand jury in Michigan also indicted six Volkswagen employees and…

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Steve Gill Commentary: Crony Capitalism Drives the Haslam Gas Tax Plan

Tennessee Star

  The Haslam Administration is doling out over $113 million in tax CUTS to some of Tennessee’s largest corporations to justify over $350 million in tax INCREASES on working Tennesseans. According to the Times Free Press, just 24 large manufacturing companies will each receive tax breaks of over a million dollars a year under the Haslam plan. Those two dozen companies will reduce their tax burden by over $57 million and receive OVER HALF of the proposed $113 million in Franchise and Excise tax reduction. Tennessee law doesn’t allow the state to release the specific identities of the 24 companies that will benefit most from the Franchise and Excise tax cut. However, according to the Times Free Press certain companies that fit the profile of those who are most likely among the 24 sharing in the $57 million tax break include Nissan, Volkswagen, and General Motors. “This whole tax scheme appears to be built upon a foundation of special treatment for the Governor’s friends while sticking it to ordinary working Tennesseans,” according to State Rep. Judd Matheny. “Before the plan moves one step forward there needs to be full and complete disclosure of who exactly stands to benefit, and how…

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Volkswagen Apologizes, Pleads Guilty to $4.3 Billion Diesel Emissions Fraud Scheme

Tennessee Star

“A federal judge in Detroit on Friday accepted a guilty plea from Volkswagen on three federal charges connected to the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal,” the Detroit Free Press reported: However, Judge Sean Cox said he wanted more time to review the terms of a proposed settlement agreement of $4.3 billion, an amount far less than what the company could be fined under federal sentencing guidelines. “With all due respect … this is a very, very serious offence,” Cox said. “It is incumbent on me to make a considered a decision.” Cox scheduled another hearing for April 21. Volkswagen did, however, appear in court, plead guilty and waive its right to a jury trial in a wide-ranging investigation into the company’s diesel engines that were equipped with software designed to fool federal emissions tests. Manfred Doess, Volkswagen’s general counsel, traveled from Germany to Detroit to appear on behalf of the world’s largest automaker. Read more at: https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7184404-volkswagen-apologizes-pleads-guilty-to-fraud/ – – – Editor’s note:  In 2011 Volkswagen opened an assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee that currently employs 2,000.      

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