Jockeying ramps up as Volkswagen Chattanooga union vote set for next month – Chattanooga Times Free Press

Billy Quigg, a VW Chattanooga employee, speaks during a rally for working families, laborers and community leaders held by Chattanooga Area Labor Council Monday, May 20, 2019 at Miller Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Quigg said that Volkswagen is trying to deny the legal rights of its employees.

A new union election is set for June 12-14 for Volkswagen production and skilled trades workers in Chattanooga, giving plant employees, the union, VW and others two weeks to make their cases.

Brian Rothenberg of UAW International said Chattanooga workers in the face of “legal obstruction and anti-worker activity” will now have the opportunity to vote on a union.

Maury Nicely, a lawyer for the anti-United Auto Workers group Southern Momentum, said workers are glad that the date is now set.

In April, the UAW sought a new election from the National Labor Relations Board at VW Chattanooga. The vote will be the third at the plant since 2014.

Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement that it has heard the concerns workers have raised in “an open dialogue” and it has responded with improvements in working conditions. It has adjusted shift work, reduced overtime to have more predictability and raised wages, the company said.

“We want to continue that open dialogue also in the future. We believe that we can achieve more for the company and our workers by continuing that open dialogue as we have done successfully so far,” the statement said. “Nevertheless, we respect our workers' right to decide on representation. As a company, and as colleagues, we will respect the decision of our team.”

About 1,790 employees inside the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga are considered within the unit that will be permitted to vote by the National Labor Relations Board.

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. But no contract was negotiated with VW because the company said it wanted a vote of all production workers about union representation.

The National Labor Relations Board announced Wednesday that workers will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

Just last week, the NLRB ordered a regional director to dismiss UAWs petition. The UAW filed a new petition the same day.

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

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.


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