Volkswagen and UAW to create union at Tennessee plant


stinkcat called it back in February (page 4, post 325):
VW workers in Tennessee reject UAW in devastating defeat for union

[quote=stinkcat_14]They had an election. The union advocates lost. Next thing you know the union side is going to try and thwart democracy.

In the latest news:

The South may get its first union at a foreign-owned automaker after all. Bucking an anti-union vote by workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in February, the United Auto Workers Union and Volkswagen will announce Thursday the creation of a union local.

Participation in the local would be voluntary and not formally recognized by VW until a majority of 3,200 employees at the plant agree to join, according to The Tennessean. It’s unclear that number of employees would agree to join immediately, but pro-union workers lost narrowly in February’s vote, and Volkswagen has actively encouraged the creation of a union, threatening to pull back on expansion plans if workers cannot agree to form one.

It appears this is why the UAW pulled out of an April legal challenge to the lost vote, which was another thread where we discussed this issue.


So it is a joint venture between Volkswagen and the UAW, meaning the employer does not object. Membership is voluntary. The original vote was close, indicating that a lot of workers do want the union. I cannot see how this is thwarting democracy. Sounds more like, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It is a win for everyone except people who do not like unions.


Perhaps because if the Union vote had passed, VW could not then say we are going to set up a non-union plant as well for those who choose to voluntarily opt out?

If this is how it is going to work, then Union votes should all be non-binding and membership needs to be optional in all cases, including dues and votes.


This is pretty typical of how German auto plants work in Germany. Union representatives are integrated into the decision making structure, possibly even some board positions if I remember right. I believe they also share deliverables for production improvement and implementation.

My impression is Germans generally view unions as a way to share power AND responsibility for the running the plant; not as a way to fight the “man” as is more prevalent here.


I guess some people don’t like majority rule. At least nobody will be forced to pay union dues, that would be the ultimate in injustice, to be forced to pay for something that the majority clearly stated that they didn’t want.


On the surface, it’s no news at all. Federal Law protects employees who seek to create a union with voluntary membership and it is a prosecutable offense to fire somebody simply for his membership in a union.

The open question is whether the employees who join the union will begin the classic campaign of intimidation and reprisal against those who choose NOT to join. I think those who worry about that have a legitimate concern, given the historical record.

I know at my wife’s workplace (a hospital), a union had been trying for years to organize her profession and failing. The union there has been trying to work the IL lawmakers to change the rules so that unionization votes are NOT secret and who votes what would be viewable by either side. We’re highly opposed to that as we do NOT want union reps showing up at our house telling us how cute our kids are and how we really ought to vote pro-union next time… :mad:

closed #7

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