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Today more than 1,500 workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will vote on the question of unionizing. If they vote yes, they join the United Auto Workers, which has seen a decline in members and influence in recent years, as auto plants across the country have been shut down.
The debate has been heated, with Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee at the forefront of those against unionizing. On Wednesday, Corker told Reuters that he had been "assured" that if factory workers vote against unionizing, the company would reward the plant with a new product to build.
VW does have to decide where to build a new crossover vehicle, but Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga, says there was "no connection" between the union vote and the where the new vehicle will be built. Earlier this week, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee said the plant could loose million in state incentives if it unionizes.
Labor historian Mike Smith joins Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson to discuss
- Mike Smith, labor historian at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
This segment aired on February 14, 2014.