VW Chattanooga plant very close to UAW representationTue, 11 Nov 2014
After months of fighting from both sides, it looks like the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN, might unionize under the United Auto Workers after all. According to a letter acquired by The Associated Press, VW and the UAW reportedly struck a deal last spring where the union agreed to stop its challenge of the organization vote with the National Labor Relations Board to help clear the way for the CrossBlue to be produced in Tennessee. In exchange, the automaker would recognize the UAW at the plant. Leaders of the Local 42 at the facility reportedly signed the letter.
It seems that such an agreement would clear the way for the factory to unionize after months of dispute. According to The Detroit News, under Tennessee law, workers aren't required to join the organization. Although, that might not be a problem. As of a few months ago, Local 42 already claimed to have signed around 700 of the plant's roughly 1,500 workers.
Controversy has constantly swirled around the possible unionization at the Chattanooga plant. The UAW held its official decision in February and lost 712 to 626. However, there were allegations of intense political pressure to make sure the ballot failed. A later report also found that VW was offered $300 million in incentives well before the vote to make sure things progressed to the "satisfaction of the State of Tennessee," but the deal was later retracted. In July, the UAW opened Local 42 on the campus in hopes of signing up a majority of the workforce by volunteering to be a part of it.
Previously, VW's Global Works Council has supported the efforts of the UAW in Tennessee. According to The Detroit News, US law prevents the factory from joining the council until it organizes. Chattanooga is one of a few of the automaker's factories without a seat on the body.
By Chris Bruce
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