New Union Goes Up Against UAW For Chattanooga VW Plant

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

In response to the United Auto Workers establishing a union local in Chattanooga, Tenn., anti-UAW Volkswagen employees have begun the process of forming their own union.

Reuters reports Mike Burton, who helped in the effort to defeat the UAW’s attempt to unionize the VW plant in Chattanooga earlier this year, is leading the charge for what he says will be the first local of the American Council of Employees. He claims that since the UAW lost in February, VW has strengthened its ties to the union, and wants ACE to become the alternative to Local 42, the local established by ACE’s opponents last month.

Meanwhile, UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel believes Burton’s counterattack doesn’t have much of a chance because of the consensus between his union and the automaker, proclaiming Local 42 has “substantially more than 700 members” from the 1,500 hourly employees who work the floor in Chattanooga. He added that it would be up to VW to recognize ACE.

Though VW has said nothing regarding ACE thus far, it has repeatedly supported the establishment of a works council at its sole U.S. factory.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Jetcal1 Jetcal1 on Aug 28, 2014

    Is it possible there are individuals who see benefits of union representation but see the UAW in a negative light?

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    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Aug 30, 2014

      @Xeranar In an ideal world I would prefer two or more opposition parties because that's whats best for all of us. From the detail standpoint (ie Goldwater Republican, Eisenhower Republican, Kennedy Democrat etc) I cannot say which is best. Extreme right wing people get in charge, well we've seen that movie. The Communists win power, well we've seen that movie too. The only shot the people have as a whole is multiple sides fighting and mostly ending up in centrist compromise. This assumes of course, this country is still a Republic and embraces Democracy, both of which seem to be effectively behind us.

  • BigWill BigWill on Aug 28, 2014

    Stepping back from this a bit, and the UAW's tunnel vision is rather obvious. While the UAW has been fighting The Battle of Chattanooga, both Mazda and Kia have skipped the US altogether for new plants, made a run for the border, and I'd expect they're not going to be the last. All the UAW/VW skirmish has done is make companies cognizant of exactly how attractive Mexico is for assembly. So the UAW will get into Chattanooga one way or another, and the US will get no more plants. Yeah, that's a good deal.

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    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Aug 30, 2014

      @Arthur Dailey - blaming FTA's are a convenient scapegoat. Protectionistic measures lead to a "blind to the realities of life" mentality present in the auto sector. That applies equally to big unions and big companies. Are you willing to pay considerably more money for products made in the USA shielded by protection? The cost to consumers went up by billions in the USA with tariffs and VRA's in the 80's. With that being said, taxpayers subsidize Walmart and McDonalds through welfare payments to their workers. Are you willing to pay more taxes to continue with the privilege of buying cheap crap at Walmart or McDonald's? "Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published to coincide with Tax Day, April 15." “According to one study, American fast food workers receive more than $7 billion dollars in public assistance. As it turns out, McDonalds has a “McResource” line that helps employees and their families enroll in various state and local assistance programs. It exploded into the public when a recording of the McResource line advocated that full-time employees sign up for food stamps and welfare." Markets in the USA are already protected in various ways. Are you willing to find out what would happen if the USA were to become completely insular? Hint - look at Cuba.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Aug 28, 2014

    I find it a real pity that the Right has to stoop down to the level of the socialist intestinal worms in the UAW and form a Union as such. I do believe a person should be able to tell someone to "Get the f4ck out of my space and leave me alone in this world". This is what I call freedom of choice. But to have two competing groups based on paradigms is akin to a religious war. But to have the right form a group is pathetic and takes away from the individual. Unions shouldn't be allow to seek the taxation of individuals either with their exise dues on monthly pay packet either. Unions shouldn't be allow to contribute to polticial parties, nor should any business. Unions should be manned by volunteers. With no money involved. But unions like any large institutionalised organization are in it for the power and not the worker, no different than any other institution. Tell them all to get f4cked.

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    • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Aug 29, 2014

      @Big Al from Oz They are a majority of government workers, but a small minority of private sector ones. It puts the lie to the whole idea really. Clearly the current model is less successful than the market in dealing with bad companies, but still successful in milking better benefits from monopolies.

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 28, 2014

    Isn't the real issue here that the workers are being told they'll have a union whether they want one or not? This may be their only chance to avoid becoming pawns of organized crime. Their vote isn't being respected by the thugs, so this may be their only move left.

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    • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 29, 2014

      @Xeranar The left and the progressive branch of the right exist for the sole purpose of eliminating the middle class. The bourgeoisie has been the enemy since day one. You might want to educate yourself, because your ignorance is rank. Creating artificial constructs of meritless union haves and noble have-nots is merely a method of hastening the collapse of capitalism, itself a misnomer applied to the most basic element of freedom by a villain. That you think democracy can only exist within the forced servitude of a union is pathetic. Does the flight of industries afflicted by the union cancer trouble you a bit? You're a new stooge for an old failed faith system. Nothing more, and in many ways much less.