More drama in the ongoing Volkswagen unionization fight in Chattanooga: Volkswagen USA is not keen on the union, while Volkswagen’s management board is divided on the matter. One thing that seems certain is the prospect of a secret ballot vote on the union, according to Reuters.
TTAC readers are familiar by now with the drama over organization drives, union cards, and the like. But the report by Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall (to veteran reporters with solid contacts at VW) is the first look at VW’s mindset, and the differing opinions both in the USA and Germany. Per Woodall and Klayman
While VW’s U.S. executives are hostile to the United Auto Workers, the eight-member management board may still ask the union to help set up a German-style employee board at the Chattanooga plant, said the person, who asked not to be identified.
The top executives feel that any final decision must be approved by the workers in a secret ballot to protect VW’s reputation and assuage investors and U.S. politicians, said the source, who did not identify the VW executives.
Beyond the weighty issue of union organization by the UAW at a foreign plant in the south is whether Chattanooga will get additional product. VW dealers are hungry for a crossover to take on vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot, and Chattanooga is a proposed location for the car. But the vehicle (based on the CrossBlue concept, above) has become the center of a game of tug-of-war for both pro and anti union camps, who variously want to see the car built there or in Mexico for a whole host of reasons, including punishing Chattanooga for not recognizing the UAW (or alternately, rewarding it for doing so) or taking advantage of the cost savings and building it in Mexico, while conveniently skirting the UAW issue at the same time.