January 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Nashville, Tenn.—United Auto Workers Local 42 filed charges against Volkswagen with the National Labor Relations Board Dec. 21, after the company refused to recognize the union as representing skilled maintenance workers at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
The maintenance workers had voted 108-44 in favor of the UAW, but the company claims that they are not entitled to be a separate bargaining unit because they are part of “one team” with the 1,250 production workers. “By refusing to engage in collective bargaining after a successful election, Volkswagen is not only doing a disservice to its employees but now is thumbing its nose at the federal government as well,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel. The Chattanooga plant’s workers voted against the UAW in February 2014, denying the union its first organizing success at a foreign-owned auto factory in the South, but courts have upheld the rights of workers to organize as a distinctive bargaining unit within a nonunion workplace. Read more