You'll recall that the union was defeated by a vote of 712 to 626 in a contentious February election. The UAW claims the outcome was unfairly swayed by pro-business, anti-union forces, including Senator Bob Corker and political advocate Grover Norquist.
This new decision by the NLRB essentially gives workers backed by the anti-UAW National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum a formal voice in the impending hearing on the UAW's appeal of the vote.
"It is an outrage that [the anti-UAW worker's] allies, who refused to reveal their funding sources and who openly republished the illicit threats in the media and among the Volkswagen workforce, will now be allowed to participate in the NLRB hearing," the UAW said in a statement. It alleges that both anti-UAW groups are "masquerading as legitimate worker representatives," despite strong ties to business interests.
The NLRB hearing hasn't officially been announced, although it's likely a sure thing, which Reuters attributes to Volkswagen's size and widely publicized vote. Perhaps as worrying to the UAW, though, is that if it wins the appeal, the anti-UAW workers could then muster their own appeal of the decision. According to Automotive News, if this were the case, the appeal process would move from the NLRB's regional office in Atlanta, which will likely handle the UAW's appeal, to the full five-member board in Washington.
With both sides now holding the power to appeal, it's very unlikely that we've heard the last from either side on this vote.
DETROIT --The UAW released the following statement in reaction to the NLRB ruling to let outside-funded groups participate in the hearing regarding the interference of state and federal politicians in the UAW election at Volkswagen in Chattanooga:
"It is an outrage that the Atlanta Region of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), deviating from the board's own practice, is allowing groups with shadowy funding that are masquerading as legitimate worker representatives to participate in the process to determine whether the UAW election at Volkswagen was tainted by state and federal politicians' threats of retaliation against workers if they exercised their right to choose UAW representation.
"Politicians subjected Volkswagen workers to a two-week barrage of anti-UAW propaganda, outright lies, distortions, and threats about the viability of their plant. It is an outrage that their allies, who refused to reveal their funding sources and who openly republished the illicit threats in the media and among the Volkswagen workforce, will now be allowed to participate in the NLRB hearing. They have mocked the NLRB process and have denigrated workers who are demanding that the federal government enforce their right to have an election free from outside interference.
"One of these groups, 'Southern Momentum' – an ally of outside groups like Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform and the National Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation – claims to be an organic group of Volkswagen workers who came together of their own accord to participate in the election campaign. Instead, Southern Momentum, registered at a management law firm, disclosed after the election that in two weeks, it raised "funding in the low six figures" from "businesses and individuals" rather than Volkswagen workers, according to Reuters news service.
"With this secret business funding, this "grassroots" organization also hired one of the nation's largest anti-union firms, Projections, to create propaganda for their anti-union campaign. Southern Momentum neglected to publicly disclose these facts during the election campaign."
Of Southern Momentum, the UAW reiterated, "Its money speaks louder than its words, but it does not speak for Volkswagen Chattanooga workers."
The UAW plans to appeal the NLRB Region 10 ruling to full NLRB.