By on July 14, 2014


The horse-trading between Volkswagen, the UAW and IG Metall that eventually led to both the UAW’s “voluntary union” and the new crossover’s production at Chattanooga isn’t quite over yet. Buried deep in VW’s announcement is the news that Volkswagen’s board member in charge of their global Works Council Bernd Osterloh will join the Volkswagen Group of Amerca’s Board of Directors.

Osterloh has long been a thorn in the side of anti-UAW forces, suggesting that without UAW representation, the crossover would not come to Chattanooga – something that Osterloh, as a member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, can set into motion if he feels vengeful enough.

In the end, the UAW lost and the crossover came to Chattanooga, but presumably, something had to give so that IG Metall took some kind of victory, real or perceived.

VW’s official announcement states

“We are pleased that Mr. Osterloh has declared his willingness to play a concentrated role in shaping our US strategy in the future. He will represent the views of the workforce. This is in line with the codetermination culture of Volkswagen, which is one of our key success factors,” Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said.

Osterloh stated: “It is important for us that our colleagues in the U.S. know that we also care about the production site and the employment in Chattanooga. I am looking forward to my work on the Board. I am determined to uphold the interests of Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga. The North American market offers considerable opportunities; in my opinion, these have not been pursued with sufficient consistency in the past. With today’s decision to produce the midsize SUV in the USA, we are taking a key step.”

The natural response to this is, why does a German union official care about the interests of American workers? From where I sit, it seems that this was a concession made to get Osterloh and IG Metall to acquiesce to the production decision – something has previously been threatened if union demands weren’t met. Even though the UAW is gaining little traction with their own organization campaign, they now have an ally in IG Metall, able to influence decisions at Volkswagen Group of America.

This isn’t the first time a cross-continent trade has happened. Outgoing UAW President Bob King was chosen by IG Metall to sit on Opel’s board, and the two unions have been moving towards deeper ties in recent years.


Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

18 Comments on “Volkswagen Group Of America Names German Labor Leader To Board Of Directors...”

  • avatar

    Volkswagen Group of American Names? :)

  • avatar

    No doubt this will signal the beginning of the “End of Times”. The anti-union simpletons will proclaim “The 7 horses of the Apocalypse” will now come. The GOP’ers and will be caterwauling over this, like the numerous soccer cry-babies I saw during the World Cup. To most people, it was be seen as a low level political payoff, for whatever reason.

  • avatar

    “I am determined to uphold the interests of Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga.” Yeah, sure you are. He’s there to help get the UAW in by whatever means necessary, in order to make IG Metall people look more competitive. Tennessee workers’ welfare has nothing to do with his mission. Yes I do think this is the beginning of the end for Chattanooga, but I’m hardly wailing about it, as I have no plans to buy another VW. They can sign up with the United Farm Workers for all I care.

    • 0 avatar

      If you are so foolish to use union membership as the determining factor to purchase a product, you must be one of the simpletons I write about above. You will not purchase a VW if VW goes union. What is you stance on produce picked by the UFW that you mention? Or meats prepared by union butchers? After all unions are unions. I wonder if you have the integrity to boycott prescription drugs manufactured by union workers. What do you think now of your anti-union stance? Looks pretty stupid, I would say, but then again I don’t take my orders from Rush or FOX.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. The factory of final assembly is only one of several inputs into the quality of a vehicle. The engineering itself is much more critical, as are the quality of parts. Whether those parts are from unionized plants or not is anyone’s guess.

      • 0 avatar

        I think jpolicke means that he won’t buy another VW product under any circumstances. Therefore, he doesn’t care which union, if any, gets into the plant.

        • 0 avatar

          Thanks Kendahl. I thought that was clear. 2012, since you asked about the UFW, it seems they can be pretty thuggy themselves when their own rank and file start making for the exit. I didn’t care one way or the other about the union that built my Challenger [probably the only thing we will ever agree on]. As far as other unions go, they neither add nor detract from my willingness to buy a particular product or patronize a business. Just don’t get the idea that your little club adds any value that I might be willing to pay for.

          You obviously skip the middleman and march smartly to the orders of Dear Leader O himself. The sun’s going down, almost time to bow towards the White House.

          • 0 avatar

            Sir You are correct. I have a direct line to the White House or what you GOP’ers call the Black House, where I am spoon fed items to post in TTAC. They told me specifically, to counter you at all times, for you are the most dangerous GOP’er in the USA. I thought I could hide my status better, but you with your keen insight you have outed me. No doubt FOXNEWS and AM radio will report this in the next news cycle. I salute you, well done.

  • avatar

    I think this is interesting. Based on his comments about VW’s past US performance it could result in VW America being given more influence within VAG instead of the other way around. I’m only saying this because I assume the Germans already have firm control of the US board and negotiations that effect its policy could go down in Europe.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Does VAG has any IG Metall reps sitting out other boards outside the EU? I was thinking Brazil, Mexico, India, China, Australia, Argentina, et AL? This may just be business as usual.

  • avatar

    Making an argument that German unions don’t care about American unions is just flat out poor understanding of the international labor community. If anything the growing ideal over the last decade accelerated by the 2008 collapse saw labor in the first and second world create more international bonds to defend themselves from international global attacks on their place in order. German Unions & American Unions are still threatened by slave-wage countries and would be better served at gaining strength in First world countries while organizing in democracies like India & Mexico where unionism is on the rise.

  • avatar

    The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!

    10,000 points if you understand this line without the Interwebs.

  • avatar

    “Workers of the world unite” . Get the Chinese, Brasilians and Indians on board and you might have something that even the degenerate knuckleheads of Dixie and their Koch brothers string pullers can’t defeat.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • TMA1: The Sonata and K5 are everywhere in Korea. That the current Sonata is a sales dud likely has more to do with...
  • theflyersfan: @bullnuke – I never knew that. I was wondering what happened after that plant blew up. I remember...
  • mcs: “teddyc73”: “Thanks for summarizing what the article basically stated.” Exactly where is...
  • bullnuke: Ahh…Sharonville. “A Savage Factory”.
  • MKizzy: Too bad about the Sonata, but that nameplate was the Forever 21 of cars, slave to the fickle styling whims of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber