Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen North America CEO, has said that workers at the company's Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturing facility will decide if they want union representation. Browning made the comment while speaking to reporters at the New York Auto Show, according to Reuters. Browning also made it clear that the United Auto Workers isn't the only option open to employees at the plant.

"If employees vote in favor of formal representation, then it's important to understand that there are a number of alternatives that may or may not include the UAW," Browning said.

Technically, the company hasn't scheduled a vote on unionization at the Chattanooga factory, but Browning says the company is in the early stages of discussions on the matter. The automaker's board has not discussed the topic in an official capacity.

If the workforce does decide to join the UAW, it would be the first foreign-owned plant to do so. The union has been courting plants owned by foreign automakers for years, but has never managed to sway workers.


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  • 66 Comments
      imtoomuch1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Modern Unions are all about greed not about protecting the workers. FACT.
      g.cassidy1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mitsubishi\'s plant in Normal IL is a UAW plant started when it was a joint venture with Chrysler as Diamond Star Motors Manufacturing.
      scion_tc
      • 1 Year Ago
      Take a look at the history of the UAW polluting factories that produce products not from Detroit. NUMMI, UAW killed that venture and cost Toyota a TON to get out of that mess. Mazda, I think they are finally out of that UAW mess, and we learned last week Mazda just made their first profits in many years. VW - well the utter crap the UAW built in the 80s for VW almost killed VW in the USA Mitsubushi, almost dead from UAW built cars in the USA Suzuki, GM and the UAW killed them. Isuzu, GM and the UAW killed them.
      IBx27
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW's are unreliable as it is; do you really think the factory can stand the kind of hit to quality control the uaw brings?
      56Jalopy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unions are passe, all they want is your money.
      Jim R
      • 1 Year Ago
      The foreign auto plants have not unionized. The foreign auto plants are all profitable, produce high-quality product and at reaonable costs. I know correlation does not always equal causation, but sometimes it does.
      RetrogradE
      • 1 Year Ago
      This article needs a Caption Contest. Here's mine: "I haven't had action in so long, my man-berries are THIS BIG." PS: Unions had their place in America, but no more. They are ruining our ability to compete.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RetrogradE
        Exactly. Workers should be all paid at minimum wages. Not happy? GTFO. At least the United States will be able to compete with thrid worls countries.
          LW
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          that's outrageous, who wants BaracKarl 0baMarx to decide what the minimum wage is. The minimum wage should be what the description says, $0.01/hr. If you don't want to work for that wage, GTF0.
          SatinSheetMetal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          I'm not part of a union, I make well over minimum wage, and they only skills I have are IT. I could be replaced by most any 14 year old because my skills are skills that any can pick up anytime. You can't just learn how to assemble a car at your house.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @thequebecerinfrance
          @SatinSheetMetal Interesting comment. There are a lot of people who feel assembling a car is easy (with or without modern robotization) and anything "IT" is entirely confusing and impossible.
        carguy1701
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RetrogradE
        Unions still have a place, but the current UAW leadership needs to go, stat.
      sigma pi
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW factory workers please do not go with the UAW.
      ELG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not like I needed another reason to NOT buy a VW
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the more important step to take, is for the workers to have a representative on the corproate board, just like the german VW workers have. You get a lot more power when you are sitting in the board room.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        With all due respect, most workers have no business in the board room.
          jlauth
          • 1 Year Ago
          @The Wasp
          And that is why they (the worker) appoint a union represintative via a popular vote.
      GreaseMonkeySRT
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am personally not a fan of unions whatsoever. If the employees choose unionization, I don't think it will turn out well for VW. However, I do appreciate the fact that the employer is giving the employees some say in the matter. Often employees aren't asked for their input on things that directly affect them.
        Mike Kilpatrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GreaseMonkeySRT
        Why do dislike people who work for a living so much? Unions represent workers. It's like hating the government. The government and unions are manifestations of the will of those workers or the people of the United States. You can't hate one without hating the other. Stop attacking the very institutions that represent you.
          edward.stallings
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mike Kilpatrick
          " government and unions" - in bed with each other with the aim to suck as much money out of everybody as they can for the benefit of their leaders. I hate both.
          Daniel D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mike Kilpatrick
          Thank goodness Edward Stallings, that employers are only in business so they can be kind benefactors to their employees.
        tnsubie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GreaseMonkeySRT
        Don't you see the irony in this paragraph?
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tnsubie
          @jlauth Maybe this is clear to you already -- keep in mind that people in other sectors that are paid hourly are federally mandated to be paid 1.5x for overtime work. Unions earned that benefit for you many years ago and are no longer needed to maintain it. People in other sectors that are salaried are often forced to work 60-70 or more hours per week and are paid zero dollars for their time in excess of 40 hours per week. Your managers have a pretty sweet deal -- even getting their normal hourly rate which, I suspect, is still a pretty comfy hourly rate.
          jlauth
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tnsubie
          Haha...GreaseMonkey your last statement is exactly why union labor exists. Personally I don’t prefer unions, however after working at Chrysler at a plant level I can see why they are needed. I am a Manufacturing engineer, and currently Chryslers MFG engineers are UAW. Its got is bad points and good points...while management is forced to work 60-70-even 80 hours per week and only get straight time. Individuals protected by the Union get to choose if i want to work overtime, and we are paid 1.5 times our hourly equivalent. Basically if you are non union at a UAW facility the plant owns you and since these places run 24/7 they expect that you be available all of that time. Union is also a pain because it makes for many lazy senior employees that don’t pull their weight, and feel entitled. And don’t get me wrong I love my job and I am thankful for it. I’m also thankful that when I finally go home on a Saturday night after putting in 70 hours (getting paid what I deserve to do it) that I can get Sunday off without getting called into work.
      Mike Kilpatrick
      • 1 Year Ago
      Al home Volkwagon has strong unions. To do any less in the U.S. would be to treat us like a third world people ready to be exploited as cheap labor. American workers deserve better. Ont forget pretty much all o you reading this are American workers. Doesn't matter what you do your effected by this.
        tnsubie
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mike Kilpatrick
        Germany is one of the most unionized countries in the world. It also is one of the top economies with a land area less than Minnesota. Maybe they know a thing or two.
          scottpeterrichmond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tnsubie
          Well one should consider popuation and not area: Germany has well more than 82 Mio. people vs. MN with 5.4
          jayss2k07
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tnsubie
          It's tough to make a direct comparison between the impacts of the costs of labor in Europe to the costs of labor in America. Even though Germany has a highly unionized labor force, most of the manufacturing labor force in Europe is also highly unionized. So VW doesn't face huge labor costs differentials when it competes with French or Italian car manufacturers whose workforce is also unionized. Plus the cost of living is higher in Europe than in America. Take for instance the VAT on cars in Great Britian. It's cheaper to buy a British car here in the states than it is to buy it in Great Britian. So what would be a living wage here might not easily translate to a living wage in Europe or Germany.
          oRenj9
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tnsubie
          It also has by far the highest rate of full employment according to the CIA fact book. Something like 96% of people over 22 who want a full time job have one.
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