VW leadership split on unionizing TN plant

The "will they, won't they" back-and-forth in the United Auto Worker's courtship of Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is still in full swing, as the union, German and American executives and most importantly, employees, try to figure out just what the future of labor relations will be at a plant that sits in a right-to-work state.

The drama of the proceedings has left the plant's employees fractured, with the union claiming that over half the workers favor unionization, while a 600-worker-strong petition is being circulated in opposition to the United Auto Workers. There are presently 1,567 hourly workers at the Chattanooga facility which currently builds the Passat sedan, and the plant is being considered for a future three-row crossover.

American executives, meanwhile, are in favor of arranging an employee board, similar to what is used in German VW facilities. The Volkswagen board, though, recognizes the political predicament the factory is in, where a wrong move could hurt relations with politicians and investors, according to Automotive News. We've already seen the response toward Chattanooga unionization from Senator Bob Corker, after all. The German execs are pushing towards a secret ballot by the workers, as a means of protecting the VW brand.

The UAW, for its part, is pushing for voluntary recognition of the union by Volkswagen, although based on past alleged practices, it's not clear if the UAW legally has the employee support it claims it has. As always, we'll continue following this one.

Volkswagen Information


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