By on April 25, 2014


Though the United Auto Workers recently backed down from challenging the results of the February 2014 organization election held at Volkwagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant before the National Labor Relations Board, Volkswagen has opted to leave the door open for representation via a variation of the works council model used elsewhere.

Just-Auto reports the automaker welcomed the UAW’s withdrawal from the fight, proclaiming that it could now move forward with its tasks of building cars in Chattanooga, securing jobs in Tennessee, and establishing a new form of what it calls “co-determination” within the United States:

Volkswagen Chattanooga is seeking to establish good opportunities for consultation and representation for all its employees, opportunities that are normal practice for the Volkswagen team all over the world – that applies for those employees who voted against the UAW – just as it applies for those who voted in favour.

As for the UAW, outgoing president Bob King said the union was finally ready to “put the tainted election” behind it, while Senator Bob Corker proclaimed the challenge to the results and subsequent withdrawal as “nothing more than a sideshow to draw away from their stinging loss in Chattanooga.”

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8 Comments on “Volkswagen Leaves Door Open For “Co-Determination” In Chattanooga...”

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    “As for the UAW, outgoing president Bob King said the union was finally ready to “put the tainted election” behind it…”

    Bless his heart.

  • avatar

    Just what is the advantage to Volkswagen in a works council? The only thing I can think of is the old saying, hold your friends close, and your enemies even closer (so they can’t reach for a weapon).

    • 0 avatar

      The German union demands a works council. In the US some say that requires a labor union altho others say the law is unclear and the Feds could waive it and let a works council form w/o a union. With the current regime that seems unlikely.

      TN should not offer VW anything because if I were to bet on a future scenario it would be that TN approves the handouts, the plant is built and then VW recognizes the union w/o a vote. The workforce would then be irreparably splintered and the whole operation will fail like Westmoreland did.

      And that is what IG Metal wants. They got the head of the TN plant manager after the collusion scheme failed. He’s back in Germany.

      • 0 avatar

        It makes sense that the German union would demand a works council. The US is already a low-wage manufacturer compared to Germany. The lower the wages are in the US, the more incentive there is to move production out of Germany.

      • 0 avatar

        I understand what you’re saying, as well as conslaw’s comment, but what’s in it for the company? Is IG Metall so powerful that they can induce VW to cut its own throat, or at least throw away a huge investment in plant and equipment? Even with tax benefits and other state of Tennessee giveaways, it’s still a losing proposition for the company. There’s got to be more to it.

        • 0 avatar

          “Is IG Metall so powerful that they can induce VW to cut its own throat, or at least throw away a huge investment in plant and equipment?”

          IG Metall has a bunch of seats on the VW Board, plus the First Chairman of IG Metall is the Deputy Chair of VW’s Supervisory Board – as in second to the Chairman Ferdinand Piëch.

          Add all that up and one should be able to figure out how much pull IG Metall has at VW.

  • avatar
    That guy

    A union not named UAW might have had a shot.

  • avatar

    Dear Senator Corker,
    We still await the announcement of the second line that you said was coming if/when the UAW vote went the “right way”. Now that the UAW has dropped its appeal of the results of the February vote, there is nothing standing in the way of this announcement… except for the possibility that you made up the whole thing.

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