Three years ago, when Georgia learned it was out of the running for a billion-dollar Volkswagen car factory, state officials rallied behind neighboring Tennessee’s bid.
This article highlights local and international politics to an interesting level. The VW factory is very accessible to many potential workers from Northwest Georgia who could easily drive up I 75 to work on a daily basis. VW up to this point has chosen to hire only Tennesseans due to the economic incentives provided by my home state.
I understand this choice at the surface level, but I think the deeper implications of this could be far reaching and may stoop to much more petty implications. State borders are typically “invisible” lines within our country and I know of many large employers who happen to be on the border of two or more states that appear to hire freely from both states.
Even though VW received their incentives from Tennessee, I believe they are hurting themselves and the Chattanooga area by being exclusive in the hiring of Tennesseans. It borders on making our state a protectionist entity in their business practices; not a place we ought to be going.
My question would be this? Did all of the mid to senior level managers come only from Tennessee? Did all of the design and construction services come only from Tennessee? Will all of the energy used (electricity and gas) come from only Tennessee? This could become interesting as it plays out.
As a Tennessean, I want to work with my neighbors from Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. I don’t want them treating us the way VW is treating our Georgia neighbors now.