By on November 13, 2014

Volkswagen Chattanooga

Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives.

Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent for any group of employees,” but does allow those groups three levels of access and dialogue with the plant’s top brass when a given group represents at least 15 percent of the employees.

The first level grants groups who represent 15 percent of the floor the right to hold a meeting once a month during non-work hours, along with monthly meetings with VW HR, and the ability to post announcements. The second level — 30 percent representation — allows groups to meet once a week, as well as invite non-employee group personnel to meet up once per month, and quarterly meetings with the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee. Finally, groups who represent 45 percent or more of the floor can reserve floor spaces “as reasonably needed,” meet with HR biweekly, and the executive committee monthly.

Eligibility for any of the tiers includes adhering to the standards set by the National Labor Relations Board, with membership rolls evaluated by a third party twice per year.

UAW treasurer Gary Casteel said his union would soon meet with VW officials to “remind them” of the commitments made between the union and the automaker earlier this year in Germany, as well as offering to help verify the roll for UAW Local 42, which claims to have more than a majority of the plant’s 3,200-plus workers.

Meanwhile, American Council of Employees interim president Sean Moss applauded the policy, proclaiming Volkswagen had “officially recognized the need for a local group that puts the needs and interests of its members ahead of outside political forces,” and ensures groups aside from the UAW have a say in how the plant will be organized.

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15 Comments on “VW Establishes New Labor Organization Engagement Policy For Chattanooga Plant...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    So they’re observing the workers’ First Amendment rights:

    “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble”.

    OK.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It would appear that VW is trying to provide an advantage to whichever would-be union has the most momentum.

    The anti-UAW “American Council of Employees” (which may be bankrolled by the anti-union organizations that have been fighting the UAW’s expansion efforts) is trying to gain traction, but probably has a disadvantage. The tiered plan described above gives an advantage to those who can hit the 45% mark, which I would imagine the UAW should be able to do already.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    The UAW may get 45% in a non-binding arrangement, but can they get 50%+ in a secret ballot election to determine representation? History suggests not.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Perhaps not, but it puts the squeeze on the American Council of Employees.

      Depending upon how you want to look at it, VW may be either specifically favoring the UAW or else it just doesn’t want to deal with a prolonged drama between competing unions. I’m inclined to think that it’s the latter — VW wants its works council, and probably doesn’t really care much about the union itself. Then again, the UAW obviously has the support of IG Metall, so this might be a subtle way to provide it with an edge.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed; the UAW still won’t get 50+%.

  • avatar
    Rday

    these German Idiots deserve to be stuck with the UAW greedy pederasts. Just proves that the Japanese are much smarter and have a much better head on their shoulders. As Francoise Michelin once said…any company that has the [UAW] union deserves to have the union. Also proves that the Germans are just as hard headed and ignorant as they were during the war. They will apparently always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • 0 avatar
      skog

      The British auto industry declared war on the unions and the working class.

      The German auto industry played ball.

      Who fared better?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        The Koreans. (just kidding)

        Those who built the better car for the right markets for the right price, that’s who. (seriously)

      • 0 avatar
        bimmermax

        “The British auto industry declared war on the unions and the working class.

        The German auto industry played ball.”

        That is a gross oversimplification. The British unions were CHOKING their respective companies. The quality of 1970’s British Leyland cars was appalling. Today Ford, Nissan, Honda, BMW all have successful plants in the UK. Without labor reform(sorry labour reform) there wouldn’t even be a British auto industry.
        Germany’s situation is different. The German automakers are luxury companies with higher profit margins and can afford higher labor costs. Even VW has a number of luxury brands to counter VW’s own issues. the one German brand that doesn’t, Opel is a brand that is at death’s door. Partly due to the labor situation there.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          VW for most of its history was anything but a provider of luxury autos.

          Nor was BMW.

          As others posted ‘the Germans played ball with their workers’.

          Due to class warfare in the UK the unions and management spent more time fighting each other than concentrating on their business. Happily Japanese managerial techniques and organizational structure have largely overcome this class bias.

          As for Opel, it unfortunately is tainted by GM’s organizational culture and transplants from other countries.

  • avatar
    Roader

    It doesn’t really matter what VW does:

    “Tennessee Code Annotated §50-1-201 et seq. states that it
    is unlawful for any employer or organization of any kind:

    1. To deny or attempt to deny employment to any person by reason
    of the person’s membership in, affiliation with, resignation from
    or refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee
    organization of any kind.

    2. To enter into any contract, combination or agreement, written or
    oral, providing for exclusion from employment of any person
    because of membership in, affiliation with, resignation from or
    refusal to join or affiliate with any labor union or employee
    organization of any kind.

    3. To exclude from employment an person by reason of the person’s
    payment of or failure to pay dues, fees, assessments or other
    charges to any labor union or employee organization of any kind.

    4. Operating in this state to execute an agreement with a union or
    employee organization of any kind that includes a maintenance of
    membership clause prohibiting employees for withdrawing from a
    labor union or employee organization prior to the agreement’s
    expiration. This section shall not apply to a city, town, municipality
    or county including a county having a metropolitan form of
    government.

    An employer or organization of any kind violating any of the
    provisions of this part commits a Class A misdemeanor.”

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