By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe often professes his love of organized labor.
During his last run for governor, McAuliffe, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign fundraiser and a former Democratic National Committee chairman, told a 2009 debate audience that he hires union workers even when he’s building businesses in non-union or “right-to-work” states.
“I paid a little bit extra out of my pocket because it was the right thing to do,” he said.
But when McAuliffe was ready to open a factory for his Virginia-based car company, he chose right-to-work Mississippi — and apparently hired non-union workers.
GreenTech Automotive, which employs fewer than 100 workers in its Horn Lake, Miss., plant, is not unionized, the United Auto Workers organizing department told Watchdog. In fact, union officials said they’d never heard of the company.
“It’s not a plant that I recognize,” said Kim, a 22-year veteran in the UAW’s organizing office who refused to give her last name.
While the UAW speaks only for itself, the National Labor Relations Board, the federal entity tasked with enforcing labor rules and overseeing union elections, confirms that neither the UAW nor any other labor organizations have attempted to unionize the Horn Lake plant.
“As far as I know, there’s no union,” said Dave Glissendorf, a compliance offer in the NLRB’s Memphis, Tenn., office, just minutes from the GreenTech facility. “I have no evidence there’s a union there.”
While GreenTech, which builds the two-seat MyCar, an electric vehicle with limited range, could voluntarily recognize a union without the NLRB’s involvement, Glissendorf believes that’s unlikely.
“I’ve only seen one in my 27 years,” he said. “I highly doubt that’s happened.”
Neither McAuliffe nor officials from GreenTech Automotive have responded to requests for comment. McAuliffe’s campaign team also did not respond to a request for comment.
News that GreenTech has so far stiffed organized labor might come as a surprise to unions pouring cash into his Virginia gubernatorial campaign. According to recent filings, organized labor, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the powerful Service Employees International Union, among others, has spent more than $560,000 trying to help McAuliffe into the governor’s office.
Labor dumped more than $730,000 into McAuliffe’s failed 2009 gubernatorial run.
GreenTech announced Apr. 5 that McAuliffe had resigned Dec. 1 as company chairman. Skeptics noted that during that same four-month period McAuliffe continued to promote himself as the company’s chairman.
It’s been a rough few days for McAuliffe, who hopes to best Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, in the contest.
The New York Times wrote five days ago that McAuliffe’s foray into green manufacturing could backfire and doom his campaign. On Monday, The Drudge Report, a conservative news titan, picked up a Watchdog story detailing how GreenTech’s parent company has incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, a move commonly made to avoid income taxes.
On Monday, NBC12 in Richmond, Va., unloaded on McAuliffe for not keeping his job creation-promises to the people of Mississippi.
Contact: Dustin@Watchdog.org or @DustinHurst via Twitter.
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