By Tim Devaney - 03/05/14 03:23 PM EST
A top House Democrat is accusing Republicans of “ambushing” Volkswagen employees before they voted against forming a union last month in Tennessee.
Republicans have long complained about what they call an “ambush election” rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would speed up the union election process. But Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), a staunch defender of unions, put his own spin on the term Wednesday.
“In fact, we saw an ambush of an election just recently in Chattanooga, Tenn., when Volkswagen workers were voting on whether to join the United Auto Workers,” he continued.
A majority of Volkswagen employees had originally indicated they wanted to join the United Auto Workers union (UAW), but Republicans convinced them not to by the time of the vote and “shamefully ambushed” the election, Miller said.
He pointed to a statement Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) made on the first day of voting that indicated Volkswagen would create more jobs at their Chattanooga plant if the employees did not unionize.
“I've had conversations today, and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new midsize SUV here in Chattanooga,” Corker said at the time.
Volkswagen objected to the senator's statement, but Miller said the damage was already done.
“In other words, if you don't vote the way we want you to vote, we'll kill your job,” Miller said. “That's what a real election ambush looks like, especially when it comes just as the voting starts.”
Labor groups are challenging the outcome of the vote, which has been appealed to the NLRB.