(CNN) Union organizers in the South suffered a setback Friday when workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted against being represented by the United Auto Workers.
The vote was 712 against the union and 626 in favor. There are about 1,550 hourly workers at the plant who were eligible to vote.
The vote was seen as the UAW's best chance to organize a nonunion auto plant, because Volkswagen management did not oppose the effort.
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"We commend Volkswagen for...trying to provide an atmosphere of freedom to make a decision," said UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, who directs the union's Southern organizing. "Unfortunately, politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility."