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Auto blogFri, 14 Mar 2014 15:47:00 EST
The fight for unionization at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, TN, factory isn't letting up. Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board decided to allow anti-United Auto Workers employees at the plant the right to defend voting down the measure. Now, a group called the National Right to Work Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of five workers against VW and the UAW for allegedly working together to organize.
The group says in a release that it wants "to block further collusion between the company and the United Auto Workers." It alleges that VW forced workers to attend "mandatory pro-union meetings" and prevented managers from opposing. In a rebuttal on its website, the UAW called the claims "baseless" and said its actions were entirely legal.
One possible problem faces the carmaker in regards to the lawsuit. According to the Detroit Free Press, a recent US Court of Appeals ruling found that neutrality agreements like the one the business had with the UAW could be illegal if the company provided "things of value" to the union. The newspaper also claims that VW held a mandatory employee meeting concerning the election, but workers were free to leave during the UAW's presentation.
Volkswagen's Chattanooga Assembly Plant is scheduled to vote on whether to unionize in the coming days, but Tennessee state lawmakers are threatening to deny future tax subsidies to the factory, if the vote is successful. The factory is currently the only Volkswagen plant worldwide that is not unionized.
The states's Republican lawmakers have been particularly vocal against the union vote. Tennessee state senator Bo Watson said during a press conference that VW would have a "very tough time" with future incentives if the vote were successful, according to Automotive News. Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said the "heavy hand" of the UAW is not welcome there. VW has drawn criticism from both sides because it has allowed both pro- and anti-union groups to speak to workers and hand out leaflets.
Roughly 1,500 factory employees will vote on whether to unionize from February 12-14. If successful, the Chattanooga factory would be the first in the US organized under a German-style works council system where white- and blue-collar workers directly negotiate factory issues with the company's management.
Skoda, oh Skoda. You're just so cool. Maybe it's the fact that it's a brand that we don't get in these United States, but Skoda's rebadged Volkswagens, in particular the new Octavia vRS shown here, are just different enough from the hum-drum VWs on our shores that the Czech brand seems strangely desirable. Maybe we're just craving forbidden fruit.
This short, minute-long spot covers the new vRS in a world of excess, where strollers ride on 26-inch wheels, lawnmowers feature V8 engines and ice cream cones are the size of toddlers. As things often go in these ads, the Octavia vRS draws the eyes of passerby that are seemingly use to things far more ridiculous than a reasonably priced Czech sedan. In reality, the Octavia should be fairly familiar to American buyers. It uses the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-pot found in the Volkswagen GTI and Jetta GLI, with 217 horsepower, and sits on the same platform as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. Take a look at the full spot, below.