By on March 6, 2014

IG Metall

While Volkswagen works to find a way to establish a works council at their Chattanooga, Tenn. plant in the wake of the failed United Auto Workers election and subsequent appeal to the National Labor Relations Board, German union IG Metall is warning against the establishment of what it calls a “yellow” union at the plant, or one that has been established by Volkswagen.

Just-Auto reports IG Metall international department director Horst Mund, though disappointed with the outcome of the UAW election, believes the only way to a works council is through unionization, while also warning against any diluted form of representation at the plant:

From my talks and contacts with unions in the US, I can tell there is scepticism against house unions. We have seen attempts throughout the world [when] yellow unions are installed. I am not saying Volkswagen is anywhere near contemplating this – on the contrary they are definitely not.

Regarding the UAW appeal, Mund says the fight “was never fair,” citing the outside interference alleged by the union in their appeal as the cause of their defeat, and supports the union’s appeal. He also found the entire controversy around the election absurd, especially with its “life [and] death” tone:

This is not about life and death. It is about simple choice.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

25 Comments on “IG Metall Warns Against Yellow Union For Chattanooga VW Plant...”


  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    An unusual situation where an employer is working to force a union on its employees.

  • avatar

    Considering how often we Americans are told we don’t understand the European market, the officials at IG Metall seem to be clueless about U.S. labor law. “Company unions” are illegal per the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA is one of the things that makes it impossible for VW to set up a German style workers’ council at the Tennessee plant.

    It’s interesting the IG Metall is carrying on about Sen. Corker’s comments as somehow interferring in the vote, while Bernd Osterloh, IG Metall’s representative on the VW board, made statements about VW not assigning more product to the Chattanooga plant, or not building another plant in the southern US because the UAW lost the vote. Because of his capacity as a VW board member, on their face Osterloh’s own comments appear to violate the NLRA.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      That’s what I said, you can’t have it both ways, either its wrong or not.
      They seriously expected that they rightfully had an advantage, but when the playing field is turned using the same tactics, its allofasudden unfair.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Volkswagen – “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll vote for the union.”
      Corker – “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll vote against the union.”

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      What NLRA (specifically 29 U.S. Code § 158) specifically forbids is for a company to “dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it.”

      A single-company union is still legal, as long as it’s independent of the company.

    • 0 avatar
      gogogodzilla

      I guess we’ll just have to do a complete reset back to before the vote, then… yes?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        That’s what the UAW is petitioning for via the NLRB.

        Otherwise the UAW is excluded for a full year since the last vote before they can try to organize VW in TN again.

        Time magazine has a good article addressing this from their obvious far-left liberal perspective. Regardless, this loss, no matter how slim, was a blow to Left.

  • avatar
    morbo

    Self interested Party #1 looking for votes. Self interested Party #2 looking for dues paying members. Self interested Party #3 looking to ensure American wages are Euro comparable and don’t harm their Euro scale. Self interested party #4 confused by Americans and why no one wants un HardPlastik Jetta.

    Sunrise, Sunset.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    They did choose, and the union lost.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Honestly I see an opportunity for an independent group of people (probably being funded by a think tank or PAC) to establish a “southern union”, one which is more politically conservative and better reflects the values of people in the southern US, and those of the 21st century.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Doubt it, maybe in another 10-15 years when the majority of the old south dies off it might happen.

      My old man was dead set against unions and the attitude was entrenched when he was a young man, literally paid to go in and physically bust up unions.

      He told me about how they went into a multi story building, beat the crap out of those “card carrying commies” and tossed them down and over the stairs.

      I asked him if he thought they might have killed someone? He said “probably” but at least they chased the union out.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    It’s not unheard of in other industries for different unions to represent the same workers, or even workers within a particular company only. For example, ALPA (Airline Pilots Association) is the AFL-CIO airline pilots union, but several airlines’ pilots have their own union just for pilots of that airline that is separate from ALPA. Allied Pilots Association, which is the AA pilots union, was actually an ALPA breakaway. US Air pilots also have their own union, the US Airline PIlots Association, and Southwest pilots are represented by SWAPA, the Southwest Airline Pilots Association. If, in fact, the vote was a rejection of the UAW in particular, and not unions in general, could another attempt be made at organization at the plant independent of the UAW?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    What VW wants is the value of the workers feedback, which, I suspect the workers would be willing to give. Likely the value of having things run better and having influence in the company would be all the compensation the workers would want. They may also look for other rewards for the value of their input, but apparently, there is some problem with doing that in an auto plant under US labor law?

    Or, VW really wants the structure of the works council rather than something structured not to be illegal.

    Or, what I really think is the situation (and my biases are known here, though greatly exaggerated by a few) VW can’t overcome both it’s own institutional inflexibility AND the threat that a minority of workers will use UAW, other labor groups, and the government to create an expensive legal mess if VW does anything, even a suggestion box.

    Inflexibility of large companies is a natural issue they have, but the fact that our legal system lets malcontents help gum up the works is a shame.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I was just thinking of something that I haven’t read mentioned in any of these discussions on the Chattanooga situation, and that is the UAW’s fundamental conflict of interest.

    The last I checked, the United Auto Workers Union (or some subset thereof) still retains an ownership stake in both General Motors and Chrysler, as part of the auto bailouts in 2008-2009. How can they in good faith represent the workers in labor negotiations against companies of which they are de-facto competitors?

    Pch101, anyone, what am I missing here?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The union itself didn’t own shares, it’s VEBA did, the union and the VEBA are two different entities, though the union had a seat on the VEBA board. The VEBAs of both companies have since divested themselves of the stock ownership for needed cash. Cashing out the stock, instead of a government bailout of the VEBA, was the ultimate goal and has been accomplished. Without direct control of the VEBAs, the union didn’t have the control/ownership of stock to trigger a conflict of interest.

      • 0 avatar

        > Without direct control of the VEBAs, the union didn’t have the control/ownership of stock to trigger a conflict of interest.

        To add to this the potential conflict isn’t cross industry anyway, but rather owning shares and thus interest in the other side of negotiations.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Lorenzo
        The UAW has more than just a seat on the BOD for VEBA.

        Back in Jan 2010 as part of the bailouts the UAW and Court picked the board members. From what I can gather the BOD of VEBA is skewed to favour the UAW.

    • 0 avatar

      > How can they in good faith represent the workers in labor negotiations against companies of which they are de-facto competitors?

      Their interest is in representing the max amount of labor (ie membership fees). The labor isn’t what’s competing here, in fact rather the opposite given an industry-wide union.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    So much for the argument that IG Metal wanted a union in TN because they believe unions are positive for workers. They want the UAW because it is a major step towards sending Chattanooga the way of Westmoreland. A union that doesn’t have a job-killing record is of no benefit to IG Metal.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      I am afraid that’s exactly what’s happening CJ. IG Metal is worried that Chattanooga could become too competitive. As simple as that. I like the red fist in the photo. Very ” workers of the world unite!”. Those guys in the crowd look like a bunch of overachievers. Lots of excited faces..


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    HerrKaLeun - If you want a more powerful Honda, that is called Acura. Maybe they would sell 1000 of those beefed up CRV, but for that they gave up the lean production and...
  • Re: Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van

    Drzhivago138 - It’s a two-headed gila monster. One head is playing a clarinet rendition of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” the other is engaging in a spirited...
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    Drzhivago138 - I’m not allowed by law to have any strong opinion on this matter, since my ’02 Mazda has a 3-speed with overdrive. Which, IIRC, was a big...
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    Drzhivago138 - What is this, 1998?
  • Re: Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin Van

    Drzhivago138 - We haven’t had a stick-shift van since 1987. At least, that’s what I presume, since much of the powertrain was shared between trucks and vans....
  • Re: 2015 Honda CR-V Adopts CVT

    rockets - When we had to replace our (pitifully) beat up Odyssey for my wife this spring and decided to downsize, the CX5 was my first choice, the CRV second, and the Forester...
  • Re: Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

    burgersandbeer - Why does someone have to say this in every thread that mentions awd, as if awd and snow tires are mutually exclusive?
  • Re: Rental Review: Cadillac ATS 2.0T AWD

    speedlaw - I live in the tony suburbs north of NYC. The status truck is the Q7, or X5. A few towns East, Porsche and Range Rover/Land Rover win the school run car show...
  • Re: 2015 Toyota Yaris Has “European Flavor”, We’re Afraid To Ask…

    rockets - Mazda? BMW? Subaru? Who isn’t Toyota working with? Hope Mazda is going with 6spd trannies in the new...
  • Re: 2015 Acura NSX Spied At The Burgerkingring

    speedlaw - The NSX is the Duke Nukem of cars.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India