For its part, the UAW is blaming "outside interference" for its defeat.

In what is being characterized as a major blow to the United Auto Workers, workers at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, TN have voted to reject union representation. The voting results – 712 opposed and 626 in favor – were released late Friday evening after a three-day secret ballot voting drive captured 89 percent of eligible workers. The results now go to the National Labor Relations Board for certification.

The UAW exerted a great deal of effort and money on the failed membership push in hopes that a successful campaign could trigger a wave of unionization at foreign auto factories popping up in the South from companies like Volkswagen, BMW, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota. The closely watched drive piqued the nation's interest, and as Automotive News points out, "the election attracted widespread attention from third-party union supporters and opponents."

AN also points out that the failed drive will make Chattanooga something of an "outlier" in VW's portfolio of plants, as the vast majority of them are unionized, with most relying on special works councils that represent employees in important business decisions.

At present, VW assembles its Passat midsize sedan at the facility, but Chattanooga has been known to be in the running for a second model, an as-yet-unnamed crossover that is expected to be based on the three-row Crossblue Concept. It is not immediately clear what the union loss will mean for the plant's chances at gaining this second vehicle, but earlier this week, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee ruffled feathers when he proclaimed that he had received assurances from VW that the company would select Chattanooga as the manufacturing home of the new vehicle if workers spurned the union's overtures.

For its part, the UAW is blaming "outside interference" for its defeat, with UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel saying, "Unfortunately, politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that would grow jobs in Tennessee."

Both the UAW and VW have released official statements on the results, which you can read below.
Show full PR text

Historic election brings outside interference in the vote of Chattanooga Volkswagen workers

02/14/14 CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant today have voted against union representation that would have led to the establishment of a works council that would have been the first such model of labor-management relations in the United States.

At the end of voting on Friday, Volkswagen workers voted against joining the union in a vote of 712 to 626.

The decision follows three days of voting during an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board and comes amid a firestorm of interference and threats from special interest groups.

"While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union," said UAW President Bob King.

"We commend Volkswagen for its commitment to global human rights, to worker rights and trying to provide an atmosphere of freedom to make a decision," said UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, who directs the union's Southern organizing. "Unfortunately, politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that that would grow jobs in Tennessee."

"While we're outraged by politicians and outside special interest groups interfering with the basic legal right of workers to form a union, we're proud that these workers were brave and stood up to the tremendous pressure from outside," said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who directs the union's transnational program. "We hope this will start a larger discussion about workers' right to organize."



VOLKSWAGEN CHATTANOOGA EMPLOYEES VOTE AGAINST UNION REPRESENTATION
Feb 14, 2014


Chattanooga, Tenn. (February 14, 2014) - Volkswagen Chattanooga employees have voted in a secret ballot election against United Auto Workers (UAW) representation. Participation in the election was 89 percent. 53 percent of the eligible employees who voted decided against the UAW as their bargaining representative in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) between February 12 – 14.

"On behalf of Volkswagen Group of America, I want to thank all of our Chattanooga production and maintenance employees for their participation in this week's vote. They have spoken, and Volkswagen will respect the decision of the majority," said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga. "The election results remain to be certified by the NLRB," Fischer, said.

"Our employees have not made a decision that they are against a works council. Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant," Fischer noted. "Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law to meet VW America's production needs and serve our employees' interests," Fischer said.

Sebastian Patta, Vice President for Human Resources, said: "While there was intense outside interest in this election, our managers and employees inside the plant maintained high quality production and continued to work together in a calm and respectful manner."

"Our commitment to Tennessee is a long term investment. We look forward to continuing to work with the State of Tennessee and the City of Chattanooga to support job creation, growth, and economic development today and into the future," Fischer added.

About Volkswagen Chattanooga

Volkswagen has invested $1 billion in the local economy for the Chattanooga plant and has created more than 5,000 jobs in the region. According to independent studies, the Volkswagen plant is expected to generate $12 billion in income growth and an additional 9,500 jobs related to its investment. The Chattanooga manufacturing facility builds the all-new Passat Sedan, specifically designed for the North American market and winner of the Motor Trend magazine 2012 Car of the Year award. Volkswagen Chattanooga is the first and still only car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified according to ISO 14001 for its environmental management system and according to ISO 50001 for its energy management system.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 334 Comments
      ken
      • 10 Months Ago
      I wonder why VW workers can't organize their own auto union, instead, they have to either have no union or have UAW.
        Mike
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ken
        They can, legally. However, the UAW is run like the mafia, as are most other long standing unions. They put pressure on companies and politicians to do things their way 'or else'. It's pathetic and it's why I would never join a union again. Organized crime is what it is.
          hemijohn
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Mike
          Our government is organized crime.
      ronandjen2
      • 10 Months Ago
      People are waking up to thug unions and liberals real agenda to change America. And they don`t like it. Wait until elections in November and 2016.
      knightrider_6
      • 10 Months Ago
      712 people voted against their own interests. Common sense lost to right wing communism.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        [blocked]
        Neez
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        The irony of this statement is that the democrats want to be more communist. Share everything, spread the wealth, more government in power and control etc....... I honestly don't see how having a more free capitalist society, less government, more freedom, less regulation and control, less taxes, people able to hold onto the money they earn can be considered communist?????? You've been watching too much MSNBC.
        rtkewley
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        What 'interest', other than keeping themselves in business, does the UAW represent? And what in the world is 'right wing communism'?
          J
          • 10 Months Ago
          @rtkewley
          Don't mind knightrider, his lapse of coherent thinking tends to show up every now and then - like Tourette's Syndrome.
        shelby
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        "712 people voted against their own interests" That would be true IF unions actually represented workers interests. (hint, they dont)
        PTC DAWG
        • 10 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        You cannot define communism without looking it up.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 10 Months Ago
      "For its part, the UAW is blaming "outside interference" for its defeat " Uhhh... for its part, the UAW is an "outside interference".
      leo
      • 10 Months Ago
      Guess they valued their jobs more than some UAW membership...
        Sean Conrad
        • 10 Months Ago
        @leo
        Except for the part where VW explicitly wanted them to join/form a union?
      That Guy
      • 10 Months Ago
      Very smart people. Enjoy your freedom folks, you deserve it! Cheers!
      CaddyV8
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm still laughing about the part where the UAW was upset about "external political forces". Gee, pot calling the kettle black????
      bK
      • 10 Months Ago
      Great job for not selling your soul to the devil.
      purrpullberra
      • 10 Months Ago
      It sounds like the vote was close, maybe in another year or so the workers will have a slight change of heart. This chapter has ended but not the story. I'm curious to see if any anti-union people can acknowledge that union's have not hurt companies profitability in the cases where companies don't have an antagonistic and nasty attitude towards the efforts of workers to collectively bargain for workers rights/responsibilities. The union 's in the US only got out of hand because the fights with management were so acrimonious and hate-filled that each side felt like sticking it to the other, no matter how terribly it affected the company. To blame it all on the unions shows a profound misunderstanding of the entire issue. Unions have been responsible for some awful excesses but management has ALWAYS behaved worse than the unions and they get to set the tone regarding the attitude workers face each day. The excesses of management should anger 'conservatives' and everyone else too much more than unions, management are most responsible for the decline of the US car industry. At the same time they are NOT the people who are working hard to make outstanding vehicles domestically now. The workers have done more to help the companies and country while management has abused more power and should be the reviled ones.
        Ross
        • 10 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Management behaving worse than the unions? I don't think so, ridiculous demands such as the ones leading to $40/hr can't be beat and are pure insanity... Especially, so considering the low level of expertise and intellect most of these positions require. Unions have no negative impact on profitability, really?? I guess labor costs happen to be one of those myths management made up to help them to negotiate on wages....
          turbo_awd
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Ross
          What about CEOs making 1000x what an average worker makes just to say "ok, let's build this car cheaper..".. Management has taken compensation way beyond acceptable, slurps up most of the $$$, and then says "we're broke". If they can afford to pay the CEO $10M (or whatever), they could take $1M of that and give $5/hr raises to 1000 workers!
        whofan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Our employer based health care system is what hurts American companies.
        J
        • 10 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Don't you realize that logic and reason are strongly discouraged in these forums. Reactionary, middle-school level commentary is the norm here. Shame on you!
      Hanson Bro
      • 10 Months Ago
      HAHAHA!!!! I predict that Obama will find new ways to harass this facility....OSHA inspections, endless EPA audits, etc. Because that what thugs who work with thugs do.
        Moreno636
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hanson Bro
        Well it would take a Republican fascist to know a thug when he saw one.
        scooter
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hanson Bro
        Yes, I'm sure the President of the US spends his spare time running the UAW. Probably just a hobby he picked up.
          cpmanx
          • 10 Months Ago
          @scooter
          Riiight. Because other presidents never took vacations. You really have no idea what you are talking about. http://news.yahoo.com/-obama%E2%80%99s-vacations-and-golfing-by-the-numbers--165241111.html
          dartingd
          • 10 Months Ago
          @scooter
          I guess he decided to quit playing golf and take up a new hobby then huh?
      ragtopdodge
      • 10 Months Ago
      So long unions, hello paltry wages! That's the trend of the U.S. for the past 30 years. You teabaggers are such fools. You guys just peons for the rich. What suckers. Germany is practically ALL UNION in their manufacturing, yet they produce the best cars in the world, and have the highest wages, and have great benefits. Let's bring back child labor too! And we don't need overtime, or holiday pay. maybe the standard work week should be 60 hours/week? Pathetic.
        DawgByte
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        LOL. To quote all the libtards who gloated over Obummer's two victories... "We won, deal with it."
        Ron
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        raptopdodge you are a idiot all the thing s you listed are covered in federal and state law. If your factory closes because the unions will not negotiate their benefits and so the plants move to Mexico, china etc.. what good are they if you do not have a job
        Cool Disco Dan
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        So fair market value is what you think paltry wages are? German unions are nothing like the ones in the US. You are one ignorant tool.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ragtopdodge
        [blocked]
      hemijohn
      • 10 Months Ago
      Why are most u guys against unionising? Dont u realize that it protects workers from abuses and unlivable wages. Those big companies are diffrent them mom and pop small businesses, they make major profits and most get major tax breaks. Dont be fooled America!
        montegod7ss
        • 10 Months Ago
        @hemijohn
        Is this the 1920s and I didn't realize it? If you aren't happy with your pay then go find somewhere you are. Unions for safety are necessary in certain cases, but not for someone tossing a bolt into a car dash 8 hours a day.
          hemijohn
          • 10 Months Ago
          @montegod7ss
          Your disconnected bro, most these car companies outsource thier work to Canada Mexico. Get another job, what jobs?
          shelvis68comebak
          • 10 Months Ago
          @montegod7ss
          I'd like to see you toss a bolt into a car dash for 8 hours a day and see if it's as easy as playing keyboard tough guy.
        driver1439
        • 10 Months Ago
        @hemijohn
        You have NO idea what your talking about.......
          hemijohn
          • 10 Months Ago
          @driver1439
          I must be living in an alternet world then. With US labor jobs everywhere, they provide good livable wages, and bosses dont abuse employees. Is that it?
        Grimace73
        • 10 Months Ago
        @hemijohn
        There are more laws than ever to protect workers. If you work at a company that pays you an "unlivable" wage, then you quit and go someplace else. If enough people do that, guess what? Said company raises their wages or goes out of business. That's how the free market works.
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