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Unions Ratcheting Up Pressure on Volkswagen

Union looking to use current emission crisis for leverage.

by on Feb.24, 2016

The UAW has enlisted the help of the AFL-CIO to pressure Volkswagen to recognize the auto union at its plant in Tennessee.

The executive council of the AFL-CIO, at the request of the United Auto Workers, has challenged Volkswagen AG’s management to live up to its stated corporate principles.

“The diesel emissions scandal at Volkswagen has called into question the principles the company has touted: environmental protection, sustainability and social responsibility. The damage done by the deception perpetrated on its customers will take a long time to heal,” the AFL-CIO noted in a statement.

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“To regain the trust of its stakeholders,” the statement continued. “Volkswagen must make corporate social responsibility more than just a slogan and a public relations strategy. (more…)

UAW Teams Up With Germany’s IG Metall

Push on to organize VW, BMW, Mercedes plants in U.S.

by on Nov.20, 2015

The UAW gets the nod from the NLRB to hold a new election at VW's Tennessee plant.

The United Auto Workers Union and the powerful German trade union IG Metall are forming a joint project to explore new models of employee representation in the United States.

The UAW also announced the National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a representation election for December 3 among skilled trades workers at the Volkswagen of America plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Roughly 200 workers will be eligible to vote.  The union lost a representation election in February, 2014, but that ballot included both production workers and skilled trades.


UAW May “Win” VW’s Tennessee Plant After All

Automaker readying to recognize union as bargaining agent.

by on Nov.11, 2014

The UAW appears to be another step closer to being recognized at VW's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Despite losing a plant-wide election earlier this year, the United Auto Workers may end up representing the employees at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee due to a change in the automaker’s policy.

The yet-to-be-released policy modification is expected to determine how labor groups at the plant will dealt with in the future. The UAW believes the change means it will be recognized as the bargaining partner for all hourly employees in the facility whether they are formal members of the union or not.

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The UAW says more that half the workers have agreed to be represented by its newly formed Local 42. (more…)

VW Employees Dealing with New Union Tussle

Anti-UAW forces trying to set up new union for workers in Tennessee.

by on Aug.28, 2014

An anti-UAW worker at VW's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is hoping to set up a competing union called the American Council of Employees.

The ongoing saga of the possible union representation of workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, took another turn recently as one employee is attempting to form his own union at the plant.

Mike Burton, an hourly employee and an outspoken critic of the UAW, is collecting signatures to certify the American Council of Employees as the union to represent workers on the Works Council for the plant.

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Burton claims if the group can collect 500 signatures, it would be able to call for an election at the plant. He says 108 workers had signed up on the first day. If certified, it would be the first chapter of the union. (more…)

UAW Recalibrating After VW Defeat

Union may challenge results at Chattanooga plants.

by on Feb.17, 2014

Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga turned their back on an organizing bid by the UAW.

Reeling from its loss in a representation election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the United Auto Workers Union is taking a look at its strategic options in the wake of the bitter defeat.

UAW leaders said they will review all of their legal options – following the loss by a margin of just 866 votes — and will consider mounting a legal challenging the results which cost the union a chance to represent workers at the VW plant. The election was supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

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The stinging setback underscores a decline for unions in general, according to Gary Chaison, a labor law professor at Clark University in Massaachusetts, who told Bloomberg it “seems as if it’s just a continuing spiral of decline for the American labor movement.”


UAW Loses Bid to Organize VW Plant in Chattanooga

Devastating setback for union.

by on Feb.14, 2014

Hourly employees at Volkwagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee working on a Passat sedan.

Workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant have voted against union representation  in a stinging defeat for the United Auto Workers, which left the union no closer to its goal of organizing auto workers in the Southern part of the United States.

On Friday, following three days of secret balloting, Volkswagen workers voted against joining the union by a margin of 712 to 626, according to a count conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

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The decision follows a bitter campaign in which conservative groups and Tennessee’s Republican political establishment mounted an intense push to defeat the union – including warnings from state government officials that they would withhold further incentives promised to VW.


UAW Names Next President

Appointment of Dennis Williams comes amidst leadership shake-up.

by on Nov.08, 2013

Dennis Williams is expected to become the next president of the United Auto Workers Union.

Local union leaders have selected Dennis Williams, the union’s current secretary-treasurer, as the United Auto Workers Union’s next president amidst what is expected to be a substantial change in the union’s top leadership.

Under the arcane procedures used to select the union’s top officers, the UAW’s administrative leaders picked the 58-year-old Williams as their official nominee to succeed current president, Bob King, at the union’s constitutional convention next June in Detroit.

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The public announcement followed a caucus meeting in Dearborn.  Off-the-record discussions with union officials, both active and retired, had indicated that Williams was the overwhelming favorite to succeed King. “You hear lots of things but the decision already been made,” said one knowledgeable insider before the caucus convened.


Tennessee Senator Blast Both Volkswagen and the UAW

VW moves forward with plant to create “works council” at US plant.

by on Sep.11, 2013

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has blasted the United Auto Workers Union’s bid to organize employees at the Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. in remarks also highly critical of the company’s German managers.

VW executives said last week in a letter to workers at the Chattanooga plant they are in talks with the UAW about the U.S. union’s bid to represent workers at the factory using an “innovative model,” which would be a milestone in the UAW’s long-running – and so far unsuccessful — effort to organize foreign-owned auto plants.

Corker told Reuters that VW executives at the Chattanooga plant were “forced” to sign the letter.

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In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Corker said Volkswagen would become a “laughingstock” if it goes through with a deal to have the UAW represent workers at its Tennessee plant. Corker also said he was dismayed when VW last week sent a letter to employees regarding its discussion with the UAW about creating a German-style works council at the Chattanooga plant.


German Unions May Open Doors to UAW at Mercedes’ Alabama Plant

Desperate to organize “transplants,” UAW may finally get help.

by on Apr.11, 2013

Workers at the Tuscaloosa Mercedes plant celebrating the production of the millionth M-Class. Will they vote for the UAW?

Daimler AG is facing new pressure about opening its Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Alabama up to the long-stalled organizing efforts of the United Auto Workers Union. The big difference is that the maker’s German unions seem ready to throw their hefty support to their struggling U.S. colleagues.

The UAW has been increasingly desperate to organize the so-called “transplant” assembly lines since Honda first landed in the U.S. a quarter-century ago. It has been an all but fruitless challenge complicated by the expansion of those non-union foreign-owned facilities while the organized operations of Detroit’s Big Three have steadily declined in size and employment.

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Cracking into the transplants has become the top priority for Bob King, the current UAW president – and could be a make-or-break effort for a union losing both political clout and cash.  But until recently, most of the emphasis has been on Japanese-owned plants, Nissan in particular. Now, however, the Germans are in the spotlight.


UAW May Get Chance for Vote at VW Plant

Move could prove critical for union’s future.

by on Apr.05, 2013

Workers at the new VW plant in Tennessee may soon vote on union representation.

The United Auto Workers appears to be edging closer to an up or down vote on union representation at the new Volkswagen AG manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee thanks to support from the German Metal Workers union, IG Metall.

IG Metall representatives at Volkswagen, including a member of the company’s supervisory board, have come out in favor of United Auto Workers representation in Chattanooga in a letter that was distributed to workers at the U.S. plant. Union representatives sit on the supervisory boards of German companies and have a critical role in setting company policy.

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With VW’s top American executive also showing a willingness to consider a union bid this could be a breakthrough moment for the struggling union. It has seen membership shrink massively in recent decades due both to downsizing by the Detroit-based Big Three and its inability to organize at foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines.