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Opinions still differ on what UAW Volkswagen defeat means for Chattanooga

Mike Pare, Chattanooga Times Free Press • Feb 23, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Thrust into the national spotlight, Chattanooga may gain — and lose — from the attention garnered by the Volkswagen plant's United Auto Workers vote, observers say.

"I don't believe [all] publicity is good publicity," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. "But our job is to do the best we can with the circumstances we have."

With plant workers voting down UAW efforts to organize the factory, some see that as a green light to wooing more business to the area, particularly suppliers to VW. However, others worry that VW officials, especially in Germany, were turned off by what they saw as outside influence into the company's initiative to set up a works council labor board similar to what it has in nearly all its plants globally.

Some commentators have suggested that race and Southern culture were factors in the vote against unionization. Regardless, others termed the election the most important one that will take place in the U.S. in 2014.

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