No New Product For Chattanooga Unless Works Council Implemented

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
no new product for chattanooga unless works council implemented

As Volkswagen gears up for a decision on expanding their Chattanooga factory, a member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board told the Handlesblatt that any new product would be contingent on VW adopting a works council ( explanation by our own veteran of Volkswagen BS here) for the plant.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press quotes board member Stephan Wolf as stating

“We will only agree to an expansion of the site or any other model contract when it is clear how to proceed with the employees’ representatives in the United States,”

At stake is a possible new crossover that could be built there or in a Mexican facility. Wolf, a labor leader, is Deputy Chairman of the General and Group Works Councils of Volkswagen AG, and a member of the all-important Supervisory Board, which is responsible for approving key corporate decisions. The remarks come on the heels of an endorsement of the works council from UAW head Bob King, who told Automotive News

“If I was a worker, if I was a member of the Chattanooga community, and I wanted to have the best chance of getting new investment and new product, I would want a voice on the world employee council,” King said. “I would want somebody there representing the interests of Chattanooga. I wouldn’t want a decision made where every other plant in the world has representation there, and I don’t have somebody speaking up for me.”

Both pro and anti union camps have a lot at stake; for VW’s German labor leaders fear that a non-unionized plant threatens to undermine their powerful organizations in Germany and other locales. The unions enjoy as many as 50 percent of the supervisory board seats according to German law, and can influence who holds top executive posts. That makes Wolf’s remarks all the more credible.

On the other hand, Tennessee politicians fear that a union will hurt their own image of being a “right to work” state where companies can set up shop away from the influence of organized labor. Further complicating matters is a law barring employers from starting their own unions. If a works council were to go through, workers at Chattanooga would have to be represented by the UAW – something that would be mutually beneficial to both the UAW and IG Metall, Germany’s largest labor union.

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  • Michael S. Michael S. on Jun 25, 2013

    Am I the only one that sees the VW plant NOT having "representation" as a good thing? Yes, the other plants around the globe may have their unions. That doesn't mean they are beneficial to the factory or the workers. I know it's easy to play armchair CEO, but I would be more apt to give the new models to a plant that didn't require me to get permission from the workers to do a partial shutdown for retooling purposes.

    • See 2 previous
    • FirebombDetroit FirebombDetroit on Jun 25, 2013

      Competence doesn't require collective bargaining.

  • Yeah_right Yeah_right on Jun 25, 2013

    I don't follow how VW would be able to force their employees into a union in a right-to-work state any more than the UAW could.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂