GOP dreads prospect of new UAW foothold in South

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- The prospect of the United Auto Workers gaining a foothold at Volkswagen's plant in Tennessee worries some Southern Republicans, who say laws banning mandatory union membership have helped lure foreign automakers.

But Volkswagen faces labor pressure on its supervisory board to grant workers a stronger voice at the plant. And Handelsblatt, a German business newspaper, reports that UAW leaders discussed the Tennessee plant with the company's employee relations chief last week at VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says his state's prospects could suffer if the UAW succeeds in representing workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant.

Volkswagen spokesman Tony Cervone won't comment on reports that the company is meeting with the UAW, but said VW has long wanted to give Chattanooga workers a voice in how the plant operates.

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