The United Auto Workers were looking at employees at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga as a "dollar bill" to further their union agenda, Sen. Bob Corker told CNBC on Tuesday, following accusations by the UAW that "extraordinary interference" by politicians played a part in its failing bid to organize that factory.
The union's response was not a surprise because a "hit dog hollers," the Tennessee Republican said—adding he's thrilled with the outcome.
Just days before the mid-February vote, Corker said he'd been "assured" that if workers rejected the UAW organizing drive, VW would reward them by sending new work to the plant.
In a "Squawk Box" interview Tuesday, Corker sought to clarify those statements, which VW denied at the time—claiming his comments then were designed to combat rumors that the only way to get the expansion was to vote to unionize.
"We wanted to assure people working at there that Chattanooga was in fact the first location, and in fact if they did vote the union out Chattanooga was still going to be place the company expected to expand," he said.
Bring VW to Chattanooga was Corker's baby. "As a United States senator, much of the discussions around Volkswagen coming to Chattanooga took place around my dining room table."
UAW President Bob King told Reuters on Monday that VW management acted with "great integrity," but it was "outside third parties" who tried to threaten and intimidate both the company and workers.
Last week, the UAW asked the U.S. National Labor Relations Board to investigate the union vote.
"Now this is going to the National Labor Relations Board that the president controls. The question will be: Will they try to mussle or keep a United States senator, a governor, state legislators to express their views?" questioned Corker.
The defeat culminated a two-year effort to try to persuade VW workers there unionize, in hopes of using that plant as a springboard to organize factories of other foreign automakers in the southern portion of the U.S.