Will VW's New Chattanooga Plant Become The UAW's First Southern Outpost?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Earlier today Bertel noted that the UAW’s goal of organizing “at least one” transplant automaker could be motivated by a desire to earn “brownie points” from the Detroit automakers. But the question that has remained unanswered ever since the union announced its transplant campaign is “which automaker will let the UAW into its plant?” Now that question may have its answer, as Automotive News [sub] reports:

and the UAW have intensified discussions about organizing workers at a new plant in Tennessee, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported in a preview of an article that will run Tuesday.

The newspaper, citing Volkswagen officials, said the union and automaker have held meetings and a workshop over the matter in the past few weeks.

VW insists that talks are still preliminary, and that no organizing campaign has yet begun. But, say the UAW, VW’s long tradition of worker unions “more willing to talk to unions about representation.” Ultimately VW says the decision to organize “belongs to our workers alone,” which implies a lot more openness to organization than Honda, for example, has indicated. But Southern workers seem to be largely ambivalent towards the UAW, so just because VW could let organizers into the plant doesn’t mean workers will necessarily vote for union representation. Meanwhile, there’s no word on how a possible UAW organizing campaign could affect a possible new VW/Audi assembly and engine plant that is being considered for the US according to AN [sub]. With Audi execs insisting on the need for more US production capacity, a UAW win in a Volkswagen vote could have serious implications for the firm’s future expansion.

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7 of 19 comments
  • AJ AJ on Jul 12, 2011

    Well that would be a reason not to ever by a VW. I'm done buying any more UAW built vehicles. Bunch of thugs.

  • GS650G GS650G on Jul 12, 2011

    Let the workers decide, by secret ballot, if they need the UAW to fight their battles for them.

    • See 2 previous
    • GS650G GS650G on Jul 12, 2011

      @moedaman We see how the UAW views free choice, the oxymoron known as the Employee Free Choice Act sidesteps the secret ballot so good old fashion intimidation can be used for the greater good. Of Unions. If Hyundai or Toyota was running a prison camp down there making cars you best believe Gettlefinger's phone would have rung years ago. I think around 17 people showed up at a rally outside the Toyota plant.

  • Indi500fan Indi500fan on Jul 12, 2011

    When VW opened up in Pennsylvania in the 70s, they hired GM people to run it and brought in the UAW. That lasted about 10 yrs, IIRC. Surely this time they are more aware.

  • Alfabert Alfabert on Jul 13, 2011

    Typo taken care of: "Will VW’s New Chattanooga Plant Become The UAW’s last Southern Outpost?" np, you're welcome.