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Volkswagen employees work on the assembly line of the 2012 VW Passat in Chattanooga Tenn., Dec. 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Billy Weeks) Volkswagen employees work on the assembly line of the 2012 VW Passat in Chattanooga Tenn., Dec. 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Billy Weeks)  

Union members in black shirts reportedly intimidated workers at Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga during business hours

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

United Auto Workers (UAW) members spent the afternoon pacing the assembly line at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant wearing goggles and black “UAW” T-shirts in what is perceived to be a case of union intimidation.

The assembly plant’s 1,600 workers are set to vote next week on whether or not to join the UAW. The election is already shaping up to be a divisive battle.

“It’s unclear to me how many of them are actual employees of Volkswagen. I suspect it’s a mix of both,” Center for Worker Freedom executive director Matt Patterson told The Daily Caller, citing multiple on-site sources who observed the scene. “They were all given goggles [to gain entry] and black shirts with big UAW logos on them, so there’s no mistake what’s going on here.”

The apparent intimidation occurred during normal business hours while facility employees were trying to work. The partially taxpayer-funded facility has a strict prohibition on employees taking photographs inside the plant.

UAW Region 8 director Gary Casteel gave a speech to workers Tuesday morning outlining the union’s platform in the upcoming election, according to Patterson, citing sources. But workers were reportedly not allowed to ask questions.

“This happened throughout the afternoon,” Patterson said. “If there was an election coming up, and one of the candidates stood behind you in a black shirt, how comfortable would that make you feel?”

Volkswagen did not immediately return requests for comment. UAW could not be reached for comment.

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