United Auto Workers has been pushing to unionize Volkswagen's Chattanooga, TN plant, and Volkswagen seems to be open to the idea - the two parties already have discussed an employee "works council" for the factory, which would require UAW organization - but the automaker says it will only recognize UAW if employees approve the move via a formal secret ballot. But now some workers are claiming that VW is coercing them into joining the union, The Tennessean reports.

Specifically, four workers at the plant, which builds the Passat, filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that a senior member of VW's German management said the factory might not get another vehicle to build - a future three-row crossover - unless workers agree to join the union. The workers say that if VW refuses production of a vehicle at the plant because they don't join UAW, it interferes with their right "to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations," The Tennessean reports. That's illegal under federal law.

In the Southern US, foreign automakers and their factories have traditionally rejected UAW organizing drives, such as Nissan and its Smyrna, Tenn. plant, so VW's seemingly pro-union stance goes against the norm. That coupled with Chattanooga workers' hesitancy to join UAW makes the situation unique, and this latest allegation adds a dose of complication.

Making matters more urgent, the Chattanooga plant is competing with a Mexican plant to build the aforementioned crossover, and a decision on its production is expected by the end of the year.

UAW says it has gathered signatures of support from more than half of the plant's workers, and it wants VW to recognize the union without a formal vote. But, as stated above, VW says it wants a formal secret ballot cast before it recognizes the union.

Update: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Nissan's Canton, Miss. plant had rejected a UAW organizing drive. The text has since been corrected.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't understand, at least from this article, why VW is so persistent to have the UAW present there... how does it benefit VW?
        Ducman69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @telm12345
        Its not likely to benefit VW or the workers, but the UAW has had "connections" for quite some time and may be making it worth someones time to ehem consider the proposal.
        oRenj9
        • 1 Year Ago
        @telm12345
        If VAG is going to displace GM, then they are going to need to gain significant ground in America. The UAW holds considerable political clout within American politics. Thus, having a large number of UAW employees provides VAG with both direct and proxy connections to American politicians. Those connections are key to breaking down trade barriers and improving their economic position in North America.
          linuxaddict7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @oRenj9
          Well the japs doing fine w/o govt help or connections..
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I will boycott any carmaker that deals with UAW. Toyota-Honda-Hyundai will get my business. My conclusion is the only way to effectively fight UAW is thru technology, companies need to work together, one company needs to develop robots that attaches doors together, another company needs to develop robots that paints with no human involvement AT ALL. They need to slowly eliminate these jobs to weaken UAW until every plant will have minimal amount of "employees".
        FIDTRO
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        "Toyota-Honda-Hyundai will get my business." You're going to subject yourself to ownership of any one of those three crappy car brands just because of who did or didn't build it?
          Scr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @FIDTRO
          VW is shittier than any of the makers Seal mentioned. VWs are utter crap.
        wat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        But.... what if the robots start unionizing?
          Ducman69
          • 1 Year Ago
          @wat
          Then they'll be bought out by Tata and built in India, as they are cheaper than robots.
          telm12345
          • 1 Year Ago
          @wat
          That sounds like a Futurama episode waiting to happen.
        Andy Grey
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        I find it hard to believe that you can afford a new bicycle, let alone a car....
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andy Grey
          Don't worry about it, i got the hook up. I know a guy who gives me cash for my food stamps.
          Andy Grey
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andy Grey
          Witch you use to buy MD 20/20 and then you came here to post your ghetto wine hallucinations.
          Andy Grey
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andy Grey
          Which! We really need editing here.
        MAX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        I only buy union built cars. Screw Teabaggers
        BahamaTodd
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Good luck sorting through the many component suppliers that might or might not be unionized.
        whofan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Roger Smith tried that at GM.
      Carboy45
      • 1 Year Ago
      The UAW is a terrorist organization, using personal threats, bullying, intimidation, destruction of personal property, civil disobedience, riots, and murder to achieve their ends. Not unlike other unions. Because of this I will not purchase an American-made car assembled by members of this organization.
        MAX
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carboy45
        If VW workers don't unionize ease out of Chattanooga and go somewhere more union friendly. Sore loser crybaby conservatives.
      Clipper44
      • 1 Year Ago
      Reason number 56 why I won't buy a VW.
      E85 450HP Forester
      • 1 Year Ago
      Agggh, you guys don't get it, the Union will operate under German rules, which seeks the interest of both camps.
        dukeisduke
        • 1 Year Ago
        @E85 450HP Forester
        E85 450HP Forester, if they were organizing under IG Metall, maybe I could believe it. But, this is the UAW, not IG Metall.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      churchmotor
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW are shitty enough now, combine the Detroit Mafia labor with VW design and talk about rolling heaps.
      Will
      • 1 Year Ago
      German car companies are incredibly profittable while wages and benefits for there workers are much higher than US auto workers. People on this sige want to villify people who simply want a better life for their family. Germn auto companies are proof that it is poor management NOT Unions that have been at the heart of the problems faces by US auto companies.
      NAIF S
      • 1 Year Ago
      Coercing? Nothing new there. GM and the UAW did the same at the then Saturn plant. It was said that if the employees did not reorganize the seniority system as to go by GM seniority instead of Saturn seniority the plant would not get new products. Well it shut down for a while anyway. You cannot trust the UAW.
      WillowspringShepherd
      Just go ahead and unionize ,and then watch and see if things just like Detroit happen in Chattanooga. Unions are not as they used to be. America has fallen because of unions
      FatManChew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well there's another reason why I'll never buy a VW.
        S C
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FatManChew
        What was your excuse before??
      S C
      • 1 Year Ago
      One would wonder why they (management) WANTS a unionized workforce....Contrary to popular belief, a unionized force with a clear cut collective bargaining agreement makes it EASIER for management to manage the workforce.
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