After years of failure in unionizing auto factories owned by foreign carmakers, the United Auto Workers might be poised for its first major victory. Volkswagen employees at the company's assembly plant in Chattanooga, TN, will vote in a secret ballot sometime between February 12 and 14 on whether to form a German-style works council with the UAW, according to a statement from VW in The Detroit News. It is currently the only Volkswagen plant worldwide that is not represented by a union.

"Volkswagen Group of America and the UAW have agreed to this common path for the election. That means employees can decide on representation in a secret ballot election, independently conducted by the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board]," said Frank Fischer, chairman and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, in the statement to the newspaper.

If unionized, the Chattanooga factory would be the first in the US to be arranged under a German-style works council where white- and blue-collar workers directly negotiate factory issues with the company's management. It would also become a member of VW's Global Works Council, which is an international organization of the largest of VW's labor unions that sets minimum standards for work relations at VW factories.

The process of unionization officially began in September when a majority of workers signed cards agreeing to join the UAW. However, the first rumors about organizing go back to 2011, and the process has been moving steadily since the summer of 2013. Tennessee is not generally seen as a union stronghold, but it appears that VW workers may be willing to try something different.


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  • 128 Comments
      tiguan2.0
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is good to review History. A review of the failed VW experiment in Penn, and how the UAW brought that plant to it's knees and closure. "The plant was organized by the United Auto Workers; a 1992 New York Times article described it as the only "transplant" factory, meaning a factory by a foreign autmotive company in the United States, that the UAW had succeeded in representing, and that the plant "began with a strike and lurched from problem to problem before closing" From the outset, minorities picketed the site, seeking fair treatment in the hiring process and by its first twenty months of operation, workers had staged six walkouts. On October 13, 1978, six months after the plant opened, UAW workers staged a wildcat strike at Westmoreland for salaries"
      Worx2749
      • 10 Months Ago
      'Right To Work' is just con-speak for 'Free Ride.'
        Jobu
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Worx2749
        Wow- only a zombie liberal progressive would see working in a factory for an agreed upon amount of time at an agreed upon rate while being "represented" by a bunch of corrupt political bad actors as a free ride, while probably ignoring the millions of folks who actually do nothing and get government benefits.
          churchmotor
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jobu
          Only a Democrat scumbag would think it's a good idea for the Tennessee workers at VW to give part of their salary to the Detroit Mafia.
          knightrider_6
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jobu
          only a right wing idiot would come up with that analogy.
        Pj Taintz
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Worx2749
        no, thats what a union job is. A free ride..
      FIDTRO
      • 10 Months Ago
      Unions and stupidity go hand in hand in this country.
      Andyz
      • 10 Months Ago
      One of the main reason for VW being here (in the US) is the flexible non-union workforce, also why no foreign companies decided to set up shop anywhere near Detroit. A unionized TN plant will eventually bring an end to VW production in the USA, or sure they need to be here, but I bet Mexico and Brazil look real welcome right now. Unions were once needed, but no longer have a part in this world with China breathing down our necks, and the UAW are just about the worst of them all. How hard pressed are you TN workers? Be warned VW, this will bite your ass!
        knightrider_6
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Andyz
        No. VW set up factory in Tennessee because the state offered them $400 million dollars in tax incentives. VW in return created mere 2000 jobs
        waetherman
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Andyz
        RTFA: VW is supporting unionization.
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 10 Months Ago
      How long before the new plant in Mexico is running?
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope the right wing doesn't scare the employees into voting against union with all their lies. If you are still confused, take a look at this chart http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_income Look at the top 10 and bottom 10 states.
        kajohns1964
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        I hope the union doesn't scare people into joining with it's lies.
          N.O.
          • 10 Months Ago
          @kajohns1964
          Actually its the German owners of the plant that want the union in. Apparently in Germany the workers representatives are members of the companies boards of directors and they are all very happy with that arrangement!
        PTC DAWG
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Throw in cost of living and maybe that is more relevant.
          churchmotor
          • 10 Months Ago
          @PTC DAWG
          Knightrider, all anyone has to do is look at Detroit for all the facts they need. The unions killed that city.
          Thunderbuck
          • 10 Months Ago
          @PTC DAWG
          Dude, it isn't just income. You factor in life expectancy, literacy, and a number of other solid indicators of poverty and those states are there, too.
          knightrider_6
          • 10 Months Ago
          @PTC DAWG
          @Thunderbuck Please don't confuse these anti-union morons with facts and logic.
      Warren Trunz
      • 10 Months Ago
      There flew VW. After the unions get in, it will be a slow death spiral for VeeDub.
        N.O.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Warren Trunz
        Its actually VW who wants the union in. In Germany they have union reps as members of their board of Directors.
      Herman
      • 10 Months Ago
      The last VW plant in the USA with UAW labor shuttered their doors like most things are doing in Detroit. WAKE UP people in Chattanooga. Run the Detroit mafia out of town.
        PTC DAWG
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Herman
        Agreed, I don't see anything good coming out of this f they vote to unionize. What is the pay now?
        Ducman69
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Herman
        They aren't dumb, but as you said the UAW is an American mafia, and they use similar tactics. The laziest employees are lied to and told if they vote they won't have to do any work and will get to extort big benefits and salaries from the company by threat of mass strike. Those on the fence are lied to and told, hey, just try out the UAW and if you don't like it you can vote them out after six months, which we know can't happen. They will tell the people that they will still have a voice and their opinion matters after the UAW takes over, and if anything the opinion will matter more as the company will respect it with union backing, and the union must be good for the employee since the companies are usually so hell bent on avoiding the UAW. Of course we know this is BS, as you no longer have any say since union leaders want to represent a "united front" and will heavily reprimand those that speak up. Then the rest they can bully to get in line, as mafias do. If this cancer takes hold, VW would be wise to avoid manufacturing vehicles in the United States, and while its a shame for our economy, I wouldn't hold it against them.
      flc
      • 10 Months Ago
      Fk... UAW...
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      Hope they will say no to the UAW.
      socarboy
      • 10 Months Ago
      The minute the VW Chattanooga plant unionizes; it will be closed moving production to Mexico.
      SooooRight
      • 10 Months Ago
      Wow, I didn't think it was possible to make VW crappier, but I was wrong. Throw in the UAW and VW should achieve some historic lows in the world of auotmobile manufacturing.
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