In mid-November, Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker met with Volkswagen AG General and Group Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh to discuss the issue of unionization at the local plant.
Those meetings attracted a lot of media publicity, and documents obtained through an open records request provided more information about who else participated in those discussions.
According to the documents Nooga.com obtained from Haslam's office—in addition to Osterloh—there were other top Volkswagen AG officials who attended that meeting, including:
• Dr. Michael Macht, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG for group production
Macht has a background in mechanical engineering from Stuttgart University, according to his bio.
He also subsequently worked as a scientist at Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, where he was responsible for the implementation of restructuring and organizational projects with major companies.
• Dr. Horst Neumann, member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG, human resources and organization
Neumann has a background in economic affairs and previously worked in the economics department at the board of the IG Metall Union.
• Dr. Christof Spathelf, senior vice president, Volkswagen Group production strategy and engineering
Spathelf was in charge of leading the site selection process when Chattanooga was chosen over hundreds of other sites for the Volkswagen plant. Read more here.
At the November meeting, Osterloh said that the pending decision about whether and how to organize won't impact production in Chattanooga, according to The Associated Press. Click here to read about the November meeting.
But Osterloh has said that having a works council is important to some German leaders.
Previous media reports quoted Osterloh as saying that having a works council was an important factor that would play into whether another product would be made here.
Those statements eventually played a part in the recent charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board against the UAW and Volkswagen. Click here to read more about that.
After the meeting with Osterloh, a spokesman for Haslam said that the officials discussed the German works council model.
"They have a tradition of works councils in their facilities, and the governor shared his concern about the impact of [the United Auto Workers Union] on the state's ability to recruit other companies to Tennessee," he said. "It was a very good conversation."
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