Volkswagen workers at an automotive plant in Tennessee voted to unionize Friday, becoming the first southern car manufacturer to do so since the 1940s, the Washington Post reported.

Roughly 75% of the 3,613 workers employed at the plant voted in favor of joining the United Auto Workers(UAW) union over the course of the election, according to a Volkswagen press release. The vote to unionize was opposed by a coalition of six Republican governors in the region, citing concerns that a stronger union presence could lead to fewer companies investing in new factories and, by extension, fewer jobs, the Washington Post reported.

“We the Governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas are highly concerned about the unionization campaign driven by misinformation and scare tactics that the UAW has brought into our states,” a joint statement signed by the governors says.

“Unionization would certainly put our states’ jobs in jeopardy—in fact, in this year already, all of the UAW automakers have announced layoffs,” the statement continues. “We’ve seen it play out this way every single time a foreign automaker plant has been unionized; not one of those plants remains in operation”

The UAW is launching a campaign across the southern United States to increase unionization at car factories, targeting states like Texas and Alabama.

Automakers have been increasing their presence in the south, which has historically had weaker union laws, since the 1970s, according to CNN.

President Joe Biden had a more positive response to the unionization in Tennessee than the six southern Republican governors.

“Union wins have helped raise wages and demonstrate once again that the middle-class built America and that unions are still building and expanding the middle class for all workers,” the president said in a statement following the unionization vote.

“Let me be clear to the Republican governors that tried to undermine this vote: there is nothing to fear from American workers using their voice and their legal right to form a union if they so choose,” he continued. Biden argued that union growth is tied to the growth of jobs and small businesses.

Unions pump tens of millions of dollars into Democratic causes every year, according to OpenSecrets.

Though unions have enjoyed some recent wins, according to the Washington Post, the unionization rate fell to an all-time low in 2023 despite the support of the Biden administration.

Volkswagen and the UAW did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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