VW's Labor Leader To Meet With Chattanooga Workers

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
vw s labor leader to meet with chattanooga workers

The head of Volkswagen’s Works Council may soon be paying a visit to workers at Chattanooga to discuss the prospect of a works council. Reuters reports that Bernd Osterloh will be headed down south for a “dialogue” about representation. The UAW will not be present at the talks, but representatives of both VW and IG Metall, Germany’s largest labor union, will be in attendance.

Despite the UAW’s absence, the union and IG Metall have their respective ties, with UAW head Bob King acting as IG Metall’s labor representative on Opel’s supervisory board. The meeting is also occurring as the anti-union camp digs in its heels with a campaign aimed at thwarting the UAW’s organization drive.

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  • Grinchsmate Grinchsmate on Oct 03, 2013

    Im not American so can someone tell me if I've got this right. Some states have a "right to work" and this means a worker chooses whether or not to join a union. Other states have "no right to work"? so a workplace can be either unionised or not. If it is unionised everyone is compelled to join the union. For a workplace to become unionised a simple majority of workers must vote in favour. And now I'm not sure, if a majority of workers in "no right to work" state do not wish to join a union is unionism in that workplace banned? If that is right then this is my position. As I understand it Americans have a constitutional right to freedom of assembly. Doesn't that imply a right to freedom from assembly? If so then the only argument for "no right to work" is that a worker is free to quit their job and so not be part of the assembly. This argument falls down as withdrawal of employment is a form of coercion and removes the freedom part of the freedom of assembly. I would also note that the US has adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR explicitly states that "No one may be compelled to belong to an association" and "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment". I couldn't care less if anyone else joins a union just don't make me join.

    • See 1 previous
    • Redav Redav on Oct 03, 2013

      Without worrying about the fine details, yes, your summary is accurate. A "right to work" state is one that has laws that do not require an employee to join a union if he does not want to. The right to assembly (or not assemble) is not exactly applicable. Rather, a closed shop is more like a company policy--for example, you either accept that you will follow the rules (such as attending safety meetings, etc.) or you choose to not work there. The philosophical problem I have is that a closed shop can require dues or excessive actions (such as strikes), which IMO is an undue burden on those who disagree with the union. I dislike that a union may use those dues in ways counter to the desires of the worker (e.g., political contributions). I don't like it when a company makes an employee pay for his safety shoes, office supplies, tools, software, etc., and that's essentially how I see a closed shop's requirement for paying for representation.

  • Jimal Jimal on Oct 03, 2013

    You know, unless VW gets its head out of its ass in terms of its product and product mix here in the states, it isn't going to matter what union is going to represent the workers because there won't be any workers to represent...

  • Udman Udman on Oct 03, 2013

    If this succeeds, then who knows how far IG Metall will influence other "German" transplants here in North America, and that is the reason why Southern Politicians are so against this. The Alabama Mercedes-Benz plant, and the South Carolina BMW plants would be the next visible targets, as AG Metall could simply shut down their respective (German) home plants if provoked.

  • Boxerman Boxerman on Oct 04, 2013

    As I understand it VW wanted to have a works council in the plant,probably a decent idea, not that there were any know serious issues between labor and mamagement. Under US law apparently a compoany cannot form an internal company works council, there must be outside union represenatation. This sia an old law to protect unions and prevenat plantrs avoiding having unions by talking directly to the shop floor and its representatives. Or at least that was the position of IG union controlled VW germany. VW without trying to have an internal works council and even seeing whther the law requiring a union was relevant then apporached the UAW to reperesent the plant. Employess were asked the the UAW to sign a piece of papoer as to whther they were intereted in hearing more about the union. I imagine open minded people signed yes. The UAW then claimed these signed pieces of paper as a vote of over 50% to have union representation. The employess have now countered that this was not avote and union misrepresentation about what they were signing and are asking for a closed ballot on whther to have a union or not. because the vote will almost certainly be not to have aunion VW and I g metall are doing their best to avoid the vote. BTW is this not the same company that had to close its plant in pensylvania because of union activity and crappy products which then opened in Tebnsess where we haver a healthy non union auto industry. Its also the same dumbshit company that americanised its products with cheap interiors and beam axles, thereby eliminating the reason why we buy german cars.