United Auto Workers Wins First Vote At Volkswagen's Chattanooga Plant
Skilled trades workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Assembly Plant in Tennessee voted Friday overwhelmingly to join the United Auto Workers union, the first UAW victory at an automotive plant in the South, Reuters reported.
The union vote was the first victory for the UAW, who tried unsuccessfully in February to unionize the entire plant, which included nearly 1,500 production workers. In August, the union filed to open voting only to maintenance workers and ballots were cast Friday.
Friday’s victory for the UAW only incorporated just over 10 percent of the overall workforce. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, 152 skilled trades workers voted in Friday’s ballot question.
The win, however small for the union, could shift workers at other plants in the region to warming up to the UAW.
“It gives the UAW a significant new tool in trying to organize the foreign automakers in the south. Symbolically, it’s going to be huge,” Dennis Cuneo, a former Toyota senior vice president for North America, told Reuters.
The UAW’s leader in Chattanooga downplayed the union’s reach into other automakers’ plants Friday.
“Every case has to be built on the circumstances” UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel said. “We are not filing on Nissan or Mercedes tomorrow, but if our evaluation proved that there was a unit that was ready and strong enough to have an election, certainly we would explore it.”
Volkswagen said they would appeal the decision to the National Labor Relations Board, but the automaker’s prospects of reversing the decision are dim.
“We believe that a union of only maintenance employees fractures our workforce and does not take into account the overwhelming community of interest shared between our maintenance and production employees,” a Volkswagen spokesman told the Times Free Press.
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May be it is a sign - it is time for VW to just leave USA for good. E.g. to Mexico.