The struggle over unionization at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN, continues to get more complicated. There's now a second union fighting to organize at the plant; although this one is staunchly against the actions of the United Auto Workers. At the same time, the UAW is still signing up voluntary members to its recently created Local 42 at the facility and is reportedly near having a majority of the hourly employees on its side.
The new, anti-UAW union campaign is being spearheaded by employee Mike Burton, according to Reuters, and he calls his group the American Council of Employees. He claims to already have 108 signatures in support of his organization. Burton believes that the UAW is harmful to businesses, and his goal is to force another vote to determine a preferred union among workers.
The UAW was initially defeated (712 to 626) when it attempted a union vote at the Tennessee plant in February. However, UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel told Reuters that Local 42 has already signed up over 700 members. If it can reach a majority of the roughly 1,500 employees, the group hopes VW might consider recognizing it as the factory's union.
VW's own labor leaders have supported unionization with the UAW in Chattanooga in the past as a means of getting it a seat on the company's Global Works Council. It's currently one of the company's only major factories in the world that isn't a member, but it needs an organized workforce to do it.
The political turmoil at the factory comes right before a major expansion. VW will build its new midsize, seven-passenger SUV based on the CrossBlue Concept in Chattanooga by the end of 2016. The new model will add about 2,000 new jobs and 538,000 square feet to the plant as part of a $900 million investment.