VW Works Council May Block New Southern U.S. Expansion Without Unionization

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
vw works council may block new southern u s expansion without unionization

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.

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  • Hummer Hummer on Feb 20, 2014

    So we have UAW intimidating employees, and IG metall saying no new products if the plant doesn't support their ideals... Yet the lawmakers are the bad guys because they didnt originally agree to fund something that would be counterproductive to their state? How can anyone possibly redicule Tennessee for protecting their interests?

    • See 27 previous
    • Xeranar Xeranar on Feb 21, 2014

      @tedward I'm going to be honest 28, you're starting to look bad as you start demanding more citations and I keep giving them. I decided it was worth my trouble just to prove my point and honestly it was a light work week... http://www.plunderbund.com/2013/08/24/new-state-report-card-proves-ohios-charter-school-experiment-has-failed/ It is a distilled version of what the actual report card says (which is searchable but essentially proves my original point). http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/EMO-profiles-10-11 That report notes only 27% of charter schools made adequate Year to Year progress, 48% for physical private charters, and 50% for public. Since these virtual charters are becoming the more preferable route that seems to indicate further issues. http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/12/10/v-fullstory/2541157/how-some-states-rein-in-charter.html#ixzz1gGeXiaKb Florida has a 24% charter failure rate. 12% is the national average. That is extremely high for a place that is guaranteed a funding source. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-schools-insider/post/charter-board-has-spent-1-million-to-close-failed-schools/2012/04/26/gIQAGL58iT_blog.html 1 Million dollars spent to wrap up failed charter schools. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/teachers-salaries_teachsal-table-en Raw data on pay. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/teacher-pay-around-the-world/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 A better explanation than the raw data suggests. But an even better understanding.... http://www1.salary.com/Chemical-Engineer-I-Salary.html So a high school chemistry teacher on average makes 10K less than a starting chemical engineer. http://www1.salary.com/Accountant-III-Salary.html Math Teacher makes 22K less than an accountant with similar time in (assuming 15 years of service). Since history and english have less correlations in the private market lets use some basic positions. http://www1.salary.com/Clerical-Supervisor-II-Salary.html Mid-level supervisor - 7K http://www1.salary.com/Account-Executive-Home-Care-Salary.html account executive - 14K http://www1.salary.com/Bookstore-Director-Higher-Ed-Salary.html College Bookstore 'Director' (i.e. top management) - 15K All of these were based off of maximum average earned income. So while the starting salaries of teachers to these similar positions is closer the long-term is that these positions pull away from from the Teacher's average in the long-term. Now lets address your serious assumption of how easy it is to keep your job as a teacher. The reality of being fired for gross incompetence is really overblown. It's practically a myth in the respect of most corporations. The report below shows collective quits, firings, and layoffs. The issue is it doesn't show who was fired versus laid off (or fired in effect being laid off) but we can safely assume that the relationship of hiring means that even if these people were fired for gross negligence they were still competent enough to acquire another job and probably in the same or similar field. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf So now that I've done that and wrote a semi-treatise on this, I think if you're not satisfied you're simply holding your biases even harder. Try being a teacher for a time before wailing and gnashing your teeth, you'll be surprised.

  • APaGttH APaGttH on Feb 20, 2014

    If VW doesn't start building products North American consumers actually want, at a quality level they expect, with content and materials that are class competitive, and pricing them properly (up or down depending on the product) they have way bigger problems than 2,000 workers in Tennessee at each other's throats over a union - or the motherland works council saying no more cars for Tennessee. Of course if they keep on their current path, and VW eventually walks away from Tennessee due to falling sales volumes and costs of building in 'Merica - you know the wails will be it was the union's fault.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Feb 20, 2014

      "you know the wails will be it was the union’s fault." I wouldn't be too sure about that since your opening line hits the nail right on the head, "If VW doesn’t start building products North American consumers actually want, at a quality level they expect, with content and materials that are class competitive, and pricing them properly (up or down depending on the product) they have way bigger problems than 2,000 workers in Tennessee at each other’s throats over a union – or the motherland works council saying no more cars for Tennessee."

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Feb 20, 2014

    I've pretty much said my peace on the matter. The fight wages on and frankly I'll be watching and waiting. VW's labor side has made it clear they weren't happy with politicians interfering with threats and actually under NLRA rules that is grounds for a re-vote since he named 'VW officials' in his statement. He was in a position of authority and used it inappropriately. But I digress, what VW decides to do is their business and I see no reason not to punish workers who abandon their own interests in the name of petty ideology that actually hurts them.

  • Victor Victor on Feb 21, 2014

    What about China? Is IG bullying the chinese into unionizing? No, they are not. So IG is full of BS.

    • See 2 previous
    • Xeranar Xeranar on Feb 21, 2014

      @Victor You just said you knew that the Chinese cannot unionize so why would IG fight something like that and after reading TTAC and some others VAG operates in China because of China's import system being a mess. In other words: Your argument doesn't make sense as IG is working where they have some legal precedent to. It would be foolish to ignore a large burgeoning market and I hate to say it, I recognize it is hypocritical but you need to make the money to fight the war in the end. So sometimes you do hypocritical things to win.