Give the United Auto Workers credit: It doesn’t give up easily. But the union’s years-long effort to organize the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga once again has met with defeat. Last Friday, June 14, VW management announced that its full-time permanent workers there had voted to reject union representation. The 833-776 margin was even closer than the 712-626 “no” vote in February 2014. UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg claims the outcome was due to outside manipulation. This assertion resembles the rhetoric during the previous aftermath when the UAW called upon the National Labor Relations Board to nullify the result, a complaint it eventually dropped. VW headquarters in Germany, while not formally capitulating to the union as before, remains a passive partner.
When the United Auto Workers in April 2014 gave up on its bid to unionize hourly workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga two months after its ballot defeat, then-President Bob King intimated the union would be back. It’s a lot more than an intimation now. On December 4, robotics and other machine maintenance workers at the facility voted 108-44 in favor of UAW representation. The National Labor Relations Board a week earlier had approved a union request for an election. Unlike the last time, VW is not siding with the union. Even before the vote, the German automaker had announced its intent to appeal the NLRB ruling. The victorious workers are but a fraction of all employees, but they are celebrating all the same. And the NLRB remains very much in the picture.
For decades, the United Auto Workers have viewed the South as prime organizing territory. … Read More ➡