One of Tennessee's two U.S. senators ramped up his anti-union rhetoric on Thursday in an attempt to sway workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga plant who are voting this week on representation by the United Auto Workers.
Republican Senator Bob Corker told Reuters on Thursday that he is "very certain that if the UAW is voted down," the automaker will announce new investment in the plant "in the next couple weeks."
Corker's latest remarks seemed to contradict an earlier statement by Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga, that there was "no connection" between the vote at its three-year-old Tennessee plant and a looming decision on whether VW will build a new crossover vehicle there or in Mexico.
Volkswagen headquarters in Germany declined further comment and referred to Fischer's statement.
Pro-UAW workers and UAW officials have said the plant will get the new product regardless of the final vote tally, because making only one vehicle is not cost-efficient for VW at a plant designed to build at least two vehicles.