There’s Much at Stake for VW and UAW at Chattanooga Plant

by Jon LeSage, editor, Used Car Market Report

United Auto Workers and Volkswagen AG are going through a tight squeeze in Chattanooga, Tenn.

That’s where 2,700 employees will decide whether to bring in UAW representation at VW’s Passat sedan assembly plant.

VW has been more open than other automakers about bringing in the first UAW union facility to the south – but VW would prefer that its workers adopt something similar to its “works council” like the automaker has in Germany that gives employees a say in how the plant is run, but would keep the union out.

UAW has been talks with VW management about setting up a working council similar to its German plants.

Employees are more interested in the union than usual, driven in part by 500 contract workers being dismissed by VW earlier this year.

Eight workers have gone the other direction – getting the National Right to Work Foundation to file complaints with the National Labor Relations Board for the workers who said they were misled by UAW on the election process.

UAW says a majority of the plant’s 2,700 workers have signed union cards showing interest in holding the union election

The union wants to see worker’s bring in the union, and for the tide to turn toward UAW contracts being voted in at other “transplant” facilities in the south, such as a Nissan assembly plant in Canton, Miss., and a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala.

Workers in the south are making wage earnings similar to union members working at the Detroit 3 plants up above. But the union contracts would cost transplant automakers to pay more than they’re investing in labor force now. Some analysts say Detroit 3 would love to see UAW sign contracts down south.

There’ a lot at stake for VW — German automaker counting on increasing sales in US, including its TCI clean diesel cars – to take No. 1 spot in global sales.

Wall Street Journal

Automotive News




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