Workers at VW Chattanooga plant will take UAW vote

A decision by the National Labor Relations Board will allow 165 skilled trades workers at Volkswagen's factory in Chattanooga, TN to vote on joining the United Auto Workers. The employees will cast their ballots on Dec. 3 and 4, according to Reuters.

The UAW came out in favor of the NLRB's decision in a strongly worded statement against the automaker. "It's unfortunate that, in the middle of Volkswagen's widening emissions scandal, we had to spend weeks debating workers' rights that clearly are protected under federal law." Gary Casteel, UAW secretary-treasurer, said. In his statement, the president of the union local at the plant also implored VW not to interfere in the board's verdict.

VW allegedly fought to prevent the vote and claimed that it didn't want factory workers separated into multiple groups under different representation, according to Reuters. In a statement, the company said it was reviewing the NLRB's decision and "considering its options."

The UAW has campaigned to organize at the Chattanooga plant for years. An election in early 2014 would have granted representation to the workers there, but the employees rejected the plan. The UAW eventually established Local 42 there in December 2014, but there was no collective bargaining agreement in place.
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The UAW today released the following statements reacting to the decision by the National Labor Relations board to order a representation election for skilled trades employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga facility despite the company's efforts to block the election.

Gary Casteel, UAW secretary-treasurer and director of the union's Transnational Department: "It's unfortunate that, in the middle of Volkswagen's widening emissions scandal, we had to spend weeks debating workers' rights that clearly are protected under federal law. Volkswagen's attempt to sidestep U.S. law was a waste of employees' time and energy, and a waste of government resources. Looking ahead, our hope is that the company now will recommit to the values that made Volkswagen a great brand — environmental sustainability and true co-determination between management and employees. We have no doubt that Volkswagen can make a comeback in the U.S. and around the world, but the company needs to refocus on its core principles."

Mike Cantrell, president, UAW Local 42: "We're pleased that the NLRB upheld our members' rights. We're asking the company to respect the decision and not attempt to further interfere with the election for our skilled trades colleagues. As a union, our goal always has been — and still is — moving toward collective bargaining for the the purpose of reaching a multi-year contract between Volkswagen and employees in Chattanooga. There are multiple paths to collective bargaining, and this is a step in the right direction. We hope the company will support the same rights for employees in Chattanooga that are enjoyed by our Volkswagen co-workers around the world."

VW Statement

The company has been informed that the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has denied the company's request to include all production and maintenance team members together as the appropriate unit for the purposes of an NLRB election.

The company is reviewing the content of the Regional Director's decision and is considering its options.

Volkswagen Information


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