After years of trying, the United Auto Workers won a breakthrough representation election at the Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when workers in the skilled trades voted to join the union, putting a crack in the nonunion wall around the transplants in the Southern United States for the first time.
In an election spanning two days last week, 152 of the 164 skilled trades’ employees, such as electricians and millwrights, cast ballots in the election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB said 71% of employees – 108 – voted for recognition by UAW Local 42.
The vote came nearly 20 months after the union was narrowly defeated in an election involving all hourly employees at the plant. VW intends to appeal the result, claiming any vote should have included all 1,450 hourly manufacturing employees, not just the skilled trades. The skilled trades unit comprises roughly 11% of the plant’s hourly workforce. (more…)