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New VW Policy Opens Door for UAW Representation at Chattanooga Plant

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/12/2014 Karla Sanchez

After years of trying to organize at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant in Tenn., it appears as though the United Auto Workers has finally made some progress. According to Reuters, the German automaker has announced a new policy that opens the door to labor organization at the facility.

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Under the new policy, VW provides three tiers of representation for "labor organizations" and allows any group to act as a representative, as long as they have 15 percent of workers signed up as members. Groups that meet that minimum percentage can meet monthly with VW human resources representatives, while groups that represent more than 30 or 45 percent of workers gain additional representation rights by being able to frequently meet with VW officials and the company's executive committee. vw-chattanooga-main-entrance© Provided by MotorTrend vw-chattanooga-main-entrance

This new policy presents the UAW with the opportunity to officially represent workers at the Chattanooga factory, which for the UAW, would be a huge win. The union has been trying to organize at the Tennessee-based plant in hopes of conquesting more foreign-owned auto plants in the Southeast, but has had its fair share of roadblocks. Last February, VW Chattanooga workers voted 712 to 626 against union representation, but even after the defeat, the UAW fought back and filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board, citing "interference by politicians and outside interest groups." volkswagen-chattanooga-plant-2-2© Provided by MotorTrend volkswagen-chattanooga-plant-2-2

As a result, Local 42 was formed. According to the UAW, Local 42 is voluntary and run for, and by, the employees of Volkswagen. The automaker will probably examine the number of members in Local 42 before it begins cooperating with the UAW, according to Frank Patta, global secretary of VW's works council. But the union also has some homework to do before anything happens. "We have questions about this policy, which we'll work through in discussions with management," Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, told Reuters.

Should the UAW officially clinch Chattanooga, it could mean other non-union plants like the Daimler AG Mercedes factory in Alabama might follow suit with UAW representation.

Source: Reuters

2012-volkswagen-passat-front-three-quarters-chattanooga-2© Provided by MotorTrend 2012-volkswagen-passat-front-three-quarters-chattanooga-2
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