Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Phil Bredesen spoke at the United Automobile Workers (UAW) Hall in Spring Hill Monday morning, addressing the dangers that tariffs placed on China could reap for the automobile industry in Tennessee.
Bredesen has a long and storied history working with the UAW during his time as governor, primarily during The Great Recession of 2008.
President of the Spring Hill UAW chapter, Tim Stannard, said Bredesen’s views on workers rights are in stark contrast with his opponent’s. Bredesen is running against Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, in what is a closely watched race across the country.
“As far as his views on working men and women and families, he’s just the candidate that supports those types of people,” Stannard said. “[Blackburn] doesn’t have the views on health care that Phil Bredesen has; she’s anti-union, anti-labor, and it’s just not our candidate.”
Bredesen took to the stage, addressing UAW members and supporters alike on a number of issues, one in particular being the dangers of the current tariffs placed on China.
“It’s hurting farmers right now, but my biggest concern is the damage it might potentially do to the automotive industry,” Bredesen said. “As you know, we’ve got three assembly plants here, we’ve got a lot of suppliers, and most of the people I’ve talked with on that are really worried about what the long-term effects of these things are going to be.”
The three assembly plants Bredesen was referring to were the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, and the Nissan plant in Smyrna – which happens to be the single most productive car manufacturing plant in the country, producing well over half a million vehicles in 2016.
“I know we’ve got issues with China – let’s deal with these on a one-on-one basis, and not do things that just make a lot of collateral damage,” Bredesen said. “This is an industry that we spent 30 years in Tennessee building up to what it is today. We don’t need to be going back 10 years or 15 years with this.”
In addition to supporters and UAW members, congressional candidates AJ Holmes, Justin Kanew and Mariah Phillips were also in attendance, showing solidarity with Bredesen.
“We need to have more people that represent working people in Washington,” Phillips said. “As a teacher, as a member of the Tennessee Education Association, I understand what working people need, and I’m going to fight for those things like I always have as a teacher, as a mom, and as an active member of my community.”
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