SEIU international president Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement regarding the UAW election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga:
“I am so proud of the workers at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant for sticking together and trying to make their voices heard,” Henry said. “They are an inspiration to a growing movement of working people across the nation who are uniting for good economy-boosting jobs.”
“The courage that the Volkswagen workers showed over the past three days in the face of an aggressive anti-worker campaign by special interests and anti-worker politicians is an inspiration to all workers.
“This setback won’t stop working people from continuing to unite for a better future. Whether it’s auto workers, fast food workers, Walmart workers, or healthcare workers, more and more people are joining together at work to make their voices heard. We know that if we can join together we have the strength in numbers to raise wages, improve working conditions and make the economy work for all of us.”
Over 50 union members of SEIU Local 205 traveled from Nashville to Chattanooga to assist EPB crews in restoring power for thousands of customers who have no electricity due to the recent snowstorms.
Over the last two days, Hamilton County and its surrounding areas have been hit with a heavy snowfall which has caused road closings, injuries, fatalities, and widespread power outages. An estimated 26,000 homes and businesses in the Hamilton County area are currently without power and restoring service has challenged local authorities.
“It’s ironic that while Senator Corker has spent the last few weeks attacking labor unions at Volkswagen, that a unionized company and its unionized workers are stepping up and helping restore power to the city he used to be mayor of,” said Doug Collier, President of Service Employees International Union, Local 205. “We are proud of our members at NES and the company for answering the call for help. We represent city employees in Chattanooga as well and we want to make sure that they and their families are safe.”
Local 205 represents an overwhelming majority of employees at Nashville Electric Service, which is one of the highest rated electric utility companies in the southeast. NES has won dozens of industry and community awards and is one of only six utilities in the nation recognized by the American Public Power Association (APPA) for providing customers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.
NES lineworkers and their support crews left Nashville on Thursday evening and began work overnight. It is unclear at this time how long NES crews will remain in Chattanooga.