Biden celebrates Tennessee Volkswagen plant’s vote to join UAW

President Biden celebrated the “historic vote” Friday for workers at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

“Congratulations to the workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on their historic vote for union representation with the United Auto Workers,” Biden said Friday in a statement.

The accolades come after factory workers at the Chattanooga, Tenn., Volkswagen plant voted Friday evening to join the UAW, in a decision that could signal even further momentum in organized labor following a year of high-profile strikes and major contractual wins for workers.

“I was proud to stand alongside auto workers in their successful fight for record contracts, and I am proud to stand with auto workers now as they successfully organize at Volkswagen,” the White House statement said.

Biden became the first sitting president in U.S. history to join the picket line on behalf of UAW workers during a UAW strike last year involving the “Big Three” Detroit automakers — Ford, General Motors (GM) and Jeep-maker Stellantis.

Biden, who received the UAW’s endorsement for his reelection bid in January, has also billed himself as the “most pro-union president in American history.”

The vote’s results were announced just two days after governors for six Southern states, including Tennessee, came out against the union vote in a letter. The push posed a threat to “jobs” and “values,” the governors of Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama argued.

“As Governors, we have a responsibility to our constituents to speak up when we see special interests looking to come into our state and threaten our jobs and the values we live by,” the group wrote.

Biden slammed the letter in his statement Friday, calling it an attempt “to influence workers’ votes by falsely claiming that a successful vote would jeopardize jobs in their states.”

“Let me be clear to the Republican governors that tried to undermine this vote,” the president added. “There is nothing to fear from American workers using their voice and their legal right to form a union if they so choose.”

The Friday vote made workers at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant “the first Southern autoworkers outside of the Big Three to win their union,” the UAW cheered in a press release announcing the vote.

The UAW also took to social media platform X to celebrate the vote’s success, writing in a post that, “Volkswagen workers just made history! #StandUpUAW.”

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