NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper filed motions Thursday asking the National Labor Relations Board to revoke subpoenas issued to Gov. Bill Haslam and nine other state officials by the United Auto Workers.
The UAW wants to force Haslam, House Speaker Beth Harwell, along with key members of the administration and legislature, to testify at an NLRB hearing Monday in Chattanooga. The union is contesting the election that it lost in February to unionize Volkswagens' plant there.
"If the Subpoenas are not revoked," the motion contends, "the Union will be permitted to use the NLRB's procedures to subject Tennessee government officials to an abuse of process which will chill legitimate public debate, effectively silence any opposing views, and distract the NLRB from the fact that the Union lost an election it controlled in virtually every facet, except the result."
The UAW especially wants to know more about the Haslam administration's use of taxpayer money to try to thwart the union's efforts to create a workers' council at the plant.
That follows the recent disclosure by NewsChannel 5 Investigates of leaked documents showing the Haslam administration wanted a say in the automaker's deal with organized labor -- in exchange for $300 million in economic incentives to help VW expand its Chattanooga operations.
The governor had emphatically denied rumors heard by Democratic lawmakers that state incentives were tied to Volkswagen rejecting the UAW's role on its workers council.
But the documents, marked confidential, stated that the proposed incentives were "subject to works council discussions between the State of Tennessee and VW being concluded to the satisfaction of the State of Tennessee."
"The Subpoenas thus go well beyond a legitimate attempt to gather evidence relevant to the issue before The Board - whether the voters' exercise of free choice was substantially impaired," the motion says.
In addition, the UAW has subpoenaed U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and two members of his staff. Corker's office said Wednesday that the Tennessee Republican and his aide would not attend Monday's hearing, saying they too would file a motion to revoke the subpoenas.