UAW convention reignites talk of organizing VW Chattanooga plant

Well that didn't last long. It appears that the struggle by the United Auto Workers to unionize the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN, is far from over, despite dropping its appeal of the failed vote to the National Labor Relations Board. This time it may even have renewed support coming from VW's Global Group Works Council.

Frank Patta, Global Group Works Council general secretary, spoke through an interpreter at the UAW Constitutional Convention and said that his representatives would support the union, according to Automotive News. He believes that the political turmoil around the time of the vote cost the group the election. The final results were 712 against and 626 in favor of representation.

Unionizing the plant now could be difficult. When it dropped the appeal, the UAW agreed not to call for another election for at least a year. There are alternatives, though. The workers could go through the complicated legal process of forming the works council on their own. If it waits a year, the union could try organizing only specific portions of the plant, like the body shop for example. Or it could cut out the NLRB, in favor of a neutral third party.

The works council has been one of the major goals of this process the entire time. At the moment, the Chattanooga plant is one of the few VW factories without a seat on the Global Group Works Council, which has a hand in major decisions like production locations and labor rules. In the end, Patta believes there will be a council at the factory, but with the first round as an indication, it won't come without a fight.

Volkswagen Information


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