Congress Has Questions About Haslam’s VW Incentives

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at VW in May of 2011. He has now been subpoenaed along with 19 others to testify during NLRB hearings in April. Credit: TN Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at VW in May of 2011. He has now been subpoenaed along with 19 others to testify during NLRB hearings in April. Credit: TN Photo Services

Congressional Democrats are now looking into whether Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam may have broken federal labor laws. Recently-leaked documents show he offered Volkswagen money based on the outcome of a union vote.

The incentive deal was worth $300 million for VW to expand its plant in Chattanooga. But the offer clearly stated that the union organizing at the plant had to be worked out to the state’s satisfaction – and the governor has not been shy about saying he does wants to keep the UAW outside the plant.

California Democrat George Miller – who is the ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee – penned a letter to Haslam. He gave the governor 30 days to turn over communication between the state and VW as well as with third party groups who campaigned against unionization.

Miller says in a statement that Tennessee Republicans were already trying to “sabotage” the election with their public comments. But the incentive deal hinging on keeping the UAW out is “more troubling than we first thought.”

Governor Haslam hasn’t yet responded to the letter. But he has dismissed any accusations that he did anything wrong.

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