Should Volkswagen’s workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. not be allowed to unionize — with or without the United Auto Workers — the automaker’s works council may veto any plan to expand VW’s presence in the Southeastern United States.
Reuters reports VW Works Council head and supervisory board member Bernd Osterloh said his council would be wary to vote on expansion “if co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place”:
I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again.
The recent UAW vote in VW’s Chattanooga plant failed by a close margin under anti-union campaigns led by Tennessee conservative politicians such as U.S. Senator and former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker, whose comments regarding the automaker awarding the factory a mid-size SUV upon rejection of the UAW brought President Barack Obama into the fray.
In spite of the voting results, the works council will press forward in bringing about organization to the factory, one of the few VW factories in the world without the labor relations structure.