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NLRB Denies VW Appeal of Union Vote

Labor board confirms UAW status at Chattanooga plant.

by on Apr.14, 2016

The NLRB rejected Volkswagen of America's appeal of the vote by workers approving UAW representation.

The National Labor Relations Board rejected Volkswagen of America’s bid to set aside a vote by maintenance workers approving representation by the United Auto Workers at the company’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Volkswagen is studying the NLRB rulingAdd an Image, which cleared the way for UAW, said VW spokesman Scott Wilson, who declined further comment. VW filed briefs with the NLRB stating that a union representing maintenance workers at the plant complicated the German automaker’s ability to manage the facility.

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A three-member NLRB panel denied Volkswagen’s request for the agency to review a December 2015 election in which skilled-trades employees in Chattanooga voted overwhelmingly to designate UAW Local 42 as their representative for the purpose of collective bargaining. The denial upholds the results of the election, which the NLRB supervised. (more…)

VW Appeals Creation of New UAW Unit in Tennessee

Maker believes representation must include entire plant, not just one group.

by on Dec.08, 2015

VW appealed a decision by the NLRB permitting a section of workers at it's Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant to join the union while others did not.

Volkswagen is appealing the decision by the National Labor Relations Board that has cleared the way for a vote among workers at VW’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The workers voted for representation by the United Auto Workers, giving the UAW its first victory at southern auto plants. VW, however, has filed an appeal with the full National Labor Relations Board, arguing that that any union in Chattanooga should represent both skilled and production workers.

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“As has always been the case, Volkswagen respects the right of our employees to decide the question of union representation. Nevertheless, we believe that a union of only maintenance employees fractures our workforce and does not take into account the overwhelming community of interest shared between our maintenance and production employees,” VW said in a statement. (more…)

UAW Raises VW Chattanooga Membership to 55 Percent

Union making inroads to gain more influence.

by on Apr.30, 2015

An employee at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant signs on the dotted line allowing the UAW to represent her. (Photo credit: UAW)

The United Auto Workers moved another step closer to its goal of organizing workers at the Volkswagen of America assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The UAW said in a new filing with the U.S. Department of Labor that 816 employees have now voluntarily joined the union. The 816 represent about 55% of the plant’s blue-collar. The filing, coupled with the upheaval on the VW’s board of supervisors, increases the chances the automaker will raise its level of recognition of the UAW contingent at the plant.

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Berthold Huber, the new chairman of VW Supervisory Board, is a lifelong trade union activist who actively supported the UAW during its recognition election last year. The election ended in a narrow defeat for the UAW, which since then has continued its organizing drive with the assistance of Huber and other German union leaders. (more…)

Pro- and Anti-Union Forces Wage War of Words over VW Vote

Chattanooga employees conclude vote to join, eschew union today.

by on Feb.14, 2014

Workers at Volkwagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., are wrapping the vote on whether or not they will be represented by the UAW.

Workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee are scheduled to wrap up three days of voting on whether or not they want to join the United Auto Workers today, but the fight over the outcome continues to rage.

The UAW, which has encountered no opposition from Volkswagen of America’s management, suggested its partisans inside the plant are optimistic about the prospects for a historic victory.

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“As Chattanooga’s Volkswagen workers finish their first day of voting on whether to join the UAW, news coverage continues to reflect the excitement so many of the workers feel at the prospect of unionizing,” the union said in a statement. (more…)

Workers to Decide on Union at VW Plant

Move could be breakthrough for UAW's efforts to organize "transplants."

by on Feb.03, 2014

UAW President Bob King has secured a vote at VW's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant to establish a works council.

In a potentially groundbreaking development that could determine the long-term viability of the United Auto Workers Union, workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. will vote this month on whether to let the union represent them.

Virtually every major “import” now operates at least one U.S. assembly plant – some today producing the vast majority of the vehicles they sell in this country at these “transplant” factories. So far, the UAW has failed to gain a foothold as makers like Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have actively resisted organizing drives.

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That has led to a sharp decline in the union’s membership and severely weakened its financial base, leading some analysts to warn that unless the UAW can crack into some of the transplants its future could be in danger. (more…)

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.

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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.

(more…)

Will Nissan Be UAW’s First Target?

Organizing “transplants” critical to union’s future.

by on Dec.08, 2011

UAW President Bob King knows it will be difficult to organize the transplants.

As important as it was to win new contracts from Detroit’s Big Three over the summer, United Auto Workers Union President Bob King has made it clear that the “most important” goal during his tenure will be to begin the long-stalled process of organizing the foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines that now dot the American landscape.

In the more than quarter century since the first, a Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, opened, only three have voluntarily accepted the UAW – all because they were U.S.- Japanese joint ventures, one of which has now closed. Efforts to organize the other foreign-owned factories have failed, so far.

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Now, it seems, the UAW is ready to try again, and while King told the Associated Press there’s no deadline nor official target, the wire report says it is “crystal clear” to union leaders that they need begin by targeting Japan’s second-largest automaker, Nissan.

It wouldn’t be the first time.  But an earlier drive at the maker, which operates assembly plants in Mississippi and Tennessee – the latter near its U.S. headquarters – fell flat when workers voted the union down. This time, the UAW appears to be hoping to tap worker frustration at the Canton, Mississippi plant where it claims the company is committing what the union described as both civil and human rights violations.

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