Culture Clash

Gov. Bill Haslam and his deputy Claude Ramsey flew out to Germany last weekend to meet with officials at Volkswagen. Ramsey, when he was Hamilton County mayor, led negotiations to locate the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

There are two contentious points likely to be discussed to smooth out some cultural issues between the German car company and Tennessee.

Volkswagen has unions at all its plants and see no problem having one at its Chattanooga location. The state's business community, concerned about keeping Tennessee a right to work state, has expressed concerns to the administration and to legislators.

Volkswagen officials in Tennessee have also said passage of the guns-in-parking-lots bill threatens any plan to add a second car line at the Chattanooga plant. The issue seemed resolved when the attorney general opined that Tennessee is an "at will" state and employers could forbid guns and fire those who violated the rule, thus Volkswagen could regulate guns on its property.

But Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has said in an interview that the legislature may "revisit" the issue next session.