"They're not going to put a new product in a nonunion plant," Gleason said. "That's not the way they do things."
History shows Volkswagen is favorable toward unions. The only plant without a union is the one here in Chattanooga. The only plant without a works council is located in Russia, but that's changing soon as that plant organizes one.
Employees are worried, saying they could end up losing the potential second line to the Mexican plant, which is unionized.
For years, Chattanooga was a union town. During its industrial age, when the city was known as the "Dynamo of Dixie," unions became well established in the trade structure. But as we know, industry declined drastically in the 1970s—taking the unions along with it.
Critics of the plan to unionize VW continue to say that the UAW would like to get a foothold in Tennessee and in a Southeastern car plant. But the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., has been a union shop and a UAW union shop for more than 20 years.
Gleason grew up around unions. He said his parents worked for General Motors, but that never swayed him one way or the other. He worked for years at a nonunion plant before coming to Chattanooga, and never felt like that shop needed a union.
But he does see the need for a union here.
"A lot of people are receptive, and they've been over there for more than three years, and they've seen how it's changed," he said.
Walden said he would never have thought of joining a union in his life until now. He grew up in southwest Alabama, went to a private college and has been conservative all his life.
"Until I worked at Volkswagen, I would have been as anti-union as anyone," he said.
But life at the plant with its rotating shifts and uncertainty changed his mind. He gave examples of coworkers who were taken off lines with no choice and placed on other jobs without notice. He doesn't like not knowing what times he'll be working and living with rotating in and out.
Asked about the committees that provided the same benefits as a works council, he was frankly bewildered.
"There's committees of some sort somewhere, but there's not access to them," he said.
A union is needed, he said, because no one goes to bat for employees right now. It's every man for himself. The good old capitalist way, he said.
"I can't wait for this to happen," he said. "I'm ready for a union to come in."