VW's German works council to continue efforts to unionize Chattanooga plant

The Volkswagen works council in Germany has pledged to continue their efforts to bring a similar council to their US plant in Chattanooga.

By law, VW workers at the plant would have to be represented by the UAW before any such works council could be formed.


Volkswagen's works council said it would press on with efforts to set up labor representation at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, after workers there voted against any such step involving the United Auto Workers union (UAW).

Employees at the plant, in a region traditionally hostile to organized labor, on Friday opted to reject representation by the union, whose membership has plummeted 75 percent since 1979 and now stands at just under 400,000.

"The outcome of the vote, however, does not change our goal of setting up a works council in Chattanooga," Gunnar Kilian, secretary general of VW's works council said in a statement on Sunday, adding workers continued to back the idea of labor representation at the plant.

Opposition to UAW involvement stemmed from concerns among many workers that a union would strain cordial relations with the company, which pays well by local and U.S. auto industry standards.

Some experts contend that VW needs a labor union in the United States to help set up a works council in Chattanooga, where it builds the mid-sized Passat Sedan.

"We were able to garner support from highly specialized U.S. labor law experts and we will start consulting with them in the next two weeks to define further steps," Kilian said.

He added that he would travel to the United States with Frank Patta, secretary general of Volkswagen's global works council, to hold talks.

How can they succeed after failing at the ballot box? By putting pressure on Obama's National Labor Relations Board to change the rules and allow card check to determine union representation. The only way the UAW will win is if they get rid of the secret ballot. That way, they can put direct pressure on workers by forcing them to sign a card saying they want union representation. It would be pretty hard to say no with a couple of UAW organizers looking over your shoulder.

Any such rule change will be challenged in court so it's not likely that the UAW will revisit the plant anytime soon.


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