NLRB puts VW Chattanooga vote on hold, while UAW says it will ask again for a union vote – The Commercial Appeal

NLRB puts VW Chattanooga vote on hold, while UAW says it will ask again for a union vote - The Commercial Appeal
NLRB rejects UAW bid for union at Chattanoogas Volkswagen plant
FILE – In this Dec. 4, 2015, file photo, a man walks through the employee parking lot at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. In a split decision, the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, has ruled in favor of Volkswagen in a setback for unionization efforts at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant. The NRLB has dismissed a petition for a union vote by the United Auto Workers based on a technicality. The union intends to refile immediately. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has filed a new petition seeking to hold a vote on its representation of all hourly workers at Volkswagens Chattanooga plant.

Southern Momentum's release said: “Today, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the UAW played improper legal games in filing its petition to represent production and maintenance workers, despite the fact that there was already a certification of the maintenance workers in place,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who represented Southern Momentum in 2014. “The union knew what it was doing was legally wrong, but they did it anyway. When they got caught in their legal games, they tried to reverse course, while continuing to blame the company for their own wrongdoing.” “Now the NLRB has ruled that Volkswagen was right all along, and the UAW was wrong,” added Nicely. “The UAW repeatedly accused Volkswagen of delay, but the NLRB ruled that ‘any delay is solely due to [the union’s] having filed its petition during the certification year.’ Workers should not put their faith in a union that refuses to follow the law, blames others for their own mistakes, repeatedly attacks an employer who has meant so much to this community, and has a track record of failure and divisiveness.” “This is yet further proof that the UAW is dishonest, does not care about us and is only interested in lining its own pockets,” said Tony Walker, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “The UAW needs to stop playing games with our future.”

The petition was filed Wednesday, the same day the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a regional director to dismiss UAWs petition.

"In an unprecedented move caused by Volkswagen’s legal games, the NLRB this morning issued a split decision and dismissed Chattanooga workers petition for a vote, but allowed it to be refiled. This decision allows Chattanooga workers to quickly file another petition but creates yet another delay in the process. Volkswagen has continued to use legal games to aggressively deny its workers the right to vote for years. It's ridiculous and shows how broken the rights of workers are under our labor laws. But we will be on the NLRB's doorstep immediately to file again and demand a speedy election.

The union had recently renewed its efforts to represent workers at the plant after a representation vote fell short five years ago.

“The UAW continues to peddle ‘fake news’ inside our plant, but the facts speak for themselves,” said Bryan Dyke, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We are working hard to educate our colleagues about the damage it would cause if we invite such a corrupt, Detroit-based union into our workplace, and we have been encouraged by the response we have received so far.”

Efforts to unionize Tennessee Volkswagen plant see setback

Volkswagen has said it is neutral on the issue of unionization. But it steadfastly refused to bargain with UAW after the union won representation of maintenance workers at the plant in 2015. VW has argued the bargaining unit needed to include production workers as well.

Volkswagen Union Bid Tossed by Labor Board

According to the union, the proposed new bargaining unit would encompass about 1,700 workers at the plant.

The news comes a day after three Democratic U.S. senators expressed concerns about delays to a possible election, and two days after the Chattanooga Labor Council held a rally for Volkswagen Chattanoogas workers.

“In an unprecedented move caused by Volkswagen’s legal games, the NLRB this morning issued a split decision and dismissed Chattanooga workers’ petition for a vote but allowed it to be refiled.

PREVIOUS STORY: The anti-union group Southern Momentum issued a statement on Thursday, accusing the United Auto Workers (UAW) union of spreading "fake news" in its effort to organize the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant.

This decision allows Chattanooga workers to quickly file another petition but creates yet another delay in the process. Volkswagen has continued to use legal games to aggressively deny its workers the right to vote for years. Its ridiculous and shows how broken the rights of workers are under our labor laws. But we will be on the NLRBs doorstep immediately to file again and demand a speedy election.

“The UAW was wrong for Volkswagen Chattanooga in 2014 and it is wrong for it today,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who represented Southern Momentum in 2014.

VW should be ashamed of this legal obstruction that led to this. Its sad how Volkswagens’ strategy of using high-priced legal games can stand in the way of the right to vote for Chattanooga workers. Chattanooga workers deserve to know from VW, how much money have you spent on these lawyers to try to stop us from having a voice?”

PREVIOUS STORY: A petition was filed Tuesday morning by Chattanooga Volkswagen workers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election to join the UAW. 

Meanwhile, the Chattanooga-based anti-union group Southern Momentum, which has long opposed UAWs attempts to establish a union, issued this statement in response to the news:

In a split decision, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of Volkswagen in a setback for unionization efforts at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant.

“Today, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the UAW played improper legal games in filing its petition to represent production and maintenance workers, despite the fact that there was already a certification of the maintenance workers in place,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who represented Southern Momentum in 2014. “The union knew what it was doing was legally wrong, but they did it anyway. When they got caught in their legal games, they tried to reverse course, while continuing to blame the company for their own wrongdoing.”

The move comes after the National Labor Relations Board put on hold a potential new union election at Volkswagen's Chattanooga production plant last week.

“Now the NLRB has ruled that Volkswagen was right all along, and the UAW was wrong,” added Nicely. “The UAW repeatedly accused Volkswagen of delay, but the NLRB ruled that ‘any delay is solely due to [the union’s] having filed its petition during the certification year.’ Workers should not put their faith in a union that refuses to follow the law, blames others for their own mistakes, repeatedly attacks an employer who has meant so much to this community, and has a track record of failure and divisiveness.”

After years of back-and-forth, the union in April asked the NLRB to allow a vote for a new bargaining unit, this time including all hourly workers.

“This is yet further proof that the UAW is dishonest, does not care about us and is only interested in lining its own pockets,” said Tony Walker, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “The UAW needs to stop playing games with our future.”

In April of 2019, VW employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for another election to join the UAW.

The United Auto Workers on Wednesday filed a new petition for a union vote at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant after the National Labor Relations Board dismissed an earlier request.

PREVIOUS STORY: Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga have filed an action that could clear the way for another union vote.

Brian Rothenberg of UAW International said the NLRB directed the board's Atlanta office to dismiss the original election petition filed on April 9.

Volkswagen employees work around vehicles moving down the assembly line at the Volkswagen Assembly Plant Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

But, he said, the board indicated that the UAW could immediately file a new petition and it did so seeking a vote among VW Chattanooga production and maintenance workers.

“We respect our colleagues' right to decide on representation,” said the automaker. “The company has always maintained that a proper vote should include production and maintenance employees, and that legal issues surrounding the maintenance-only unit should have been resolved before the union filed a petition to represent the entire production and maintenance group.”

Dan Gilmore, who teaches labor law at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said it appears as if the hold-ups to an election now no longer exist.

But, he added, while VW says it's neutral, it's not acting as the company did in 2014 when it and the UAW had an agreement for that union election.

The UAW lost the 2014 vote by a margin of 712 to 626. In 2015, a smaller group of maintenance workers won a union vote at the plant by 108-44.

Last month after waiting more than three years for the courts and NLRB to decide on the validity of the union for the maintenance workers, the UAW disclaimed the 2015 election and sought NLRB action to revoke the unit so a new election of all maintenance and production workers could take place.

VW had claimed that there were issues pending before the NLRB related to the 2015 vote that must be decided before the board could entertain a new UAW petition.

On Wednesday, the NLRB granted in a split decision the request by Volkswagen to dismiss the original petition.

“The Employer's request for review of the Regional Director's Order Deferring Ruling on Motion to Dismiss Petition is granted as it raises substantial issues warranting review,” said the NLRB in a split decision. “On review, we direct the Regional Director to dismiss the petition.”

The UAW criticized the NLRB decision, but noted that it allowed Chattanooga workers to quickly file another petition though it created a delay in the process.

“Volkswagen has continued to use legal games to aggressively deny its workers the right to vote for years,” said Rothenberg. “It's ridiculous and shows how broken the rights of workers are under our labor laws.”

Maury Nicely, an attorney for the anti-UAW group Southern Momentum, said the decision by the NLRB vindicated VW's earlier stance.

“What we've been hearing for weeks is 'Let them vote. Why is VW standing in the way,'” he said. “VW has been saying the UAW hasn't done this correctly. The UAW tried to blame VW. This is a vindication of Volkswagen.”

Nicely said that either the UAW “knew it wasn't supposed to do this and did, or it had no idea. It calls into question why anyone would want to be represented by them.”

Volkswagen said that the NLRB agreed with the company's position, found that the petition was not filed properly, and ruled that “any delay is solely due to [the Union's] having filed its petition” prior to resolution of the maintenance-only unit issue.

“The NLRB's decision today will allow us to proceed in a way consistent with board law as well as our one-team approach. We have taken a neutral position on the issue and will continue to do so,” the company said.


Posted in Chattanooga