By on December 5, 2015

volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08 (1)

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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31 Comments on “United Auto Workers Wins First Vote At Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Plant...”


  • avatar
    CJinSD

    They should hire an outside maintenance company on Monday, assuming the UAW isn’t part of some Obama regime backroom deal on their emissions issues.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The next issue will be for the UAW to pressure that employer to withhold union dues for ALL the employees, even if they choose not to become union members.

      There’s precedence. I’m waiting for Xer to chime in on this topic.

      Remember that camel’s nose in the tent. Soon the hump will follow.

      Who didn’t see this coming?

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Is Tenn. a. Right to work state .?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          It is.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            All new to me. I wonder if the same percentage of voters that voted “yes” or “no” for UAW representation , will reflect in the numbers of workers that opt in or out of union dues. ???

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            That why we need Xer to chime in with his endless union fanaticism to educate the rest of us how well this worked in states that just recently became RTW.

            I don’t know enough about that topic except from what I heard on CNBC where various former union members were trying to opt out of being forced to pay dues and the unions were saying that the rights negotiated applied to everyone, union member or not, and therefore eveyone should pay union dues.

            I don’t recall what the outcome was, but the bottom line is that it is up to each individual employee in a RTW state to choose whether to affiliate or not.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        First off, ‘Right-to-Work’ is a misnomer, like calling anti-choice people pro-life, it’s just a narrative snatch at its barest.

        The majority of the changes for RtF states is more or less freeing them from having to handle union dues in payroll. Most of the other changes are superficial or outright illegal under the NLRB depending on what bill you look out.

        I’m not going to bother hitting you over the head with facts because the core anti-union lugheads here aren’t worth my time. 2016 is what matters and replacing Scalia & Kennedy is what makes the difference. There is some argument to pushing back against Taft-Hartley completely from the Warren Wing.

  • avatar
    mikey

    It’s a whole different world out there since I last punched the clock in Dec 08 . Ratification getting voted down ,or narrowly passing was unheard of in my day. Production , and skilled trade contracts were for the most part identical. Trades , of course received more cash, and lines of demarcation took some time to hammer out . I don’t recall it ever being a stumbling block.

    Trades going Union and production not ????? That’s a new one on me . VW wants to take a long hard look , on how’ve thier managing trades. I’m thinking there must be some mitigating factors here. Trades , with thier better education , and skills , we’re usually pretty lay back. It was the production guys that would get radical. But as I said, I’ve been out of the business for 7 years.

    I’m confident the other transplants will keeping a close watch on this. I really don’t. see them going UAW , not as long as.they keep wages and benefits in line with the UAW plants.
    Up here in Canada Honda has kept the CAW ,and now UNIFOR, a long ways from knocking at thier door. Toyota ???? Not so much . However I don’t see either one of them going UNIFOR for quite some time.

    • 0 avatar
      se325

      I’ve seen management in many places decide to treat all labor the same, not realizing there’s a big difference between semi-skilled labor/trade and skilled trades people. This is something they do at their own peril, because when you don’t make that distinction, you’re opening the door for unionization. If you treat people fairly, they won’t push to bring in representation.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Skilled trades worker…….. Installs lug nuts ….. but can they read ????

  • avatar
    Joss

    VW will sniff around for a union-busting lawyer. Heck it could be an ex UAW labor lawyer gone turncoat for the bosses

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    And now the VW global emissions scandal can officially be blamed on the UAW.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Human’s will naturally be shortsighted in the case involving VW and the socialist left, like the UAW with take advantage of this at the expense of the workers.

    I’d bet the workers at VW are feeling a little insecure due to the recent emissions scandal.

    Well, VW, it’s your fault. Make p!ss poor decisions and the “serfs” will rebel. I’d reckon the UAW will get VW.

    Well, VW workers, be prepared to pay the untaxed donations to the UAW. When you guys go on strike ask the UAW to continue paying your wages/salary.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I was going to write something more sweeping but just read the EPI paper and weep you sad deluded nuts. It’s lower across the board for those states and while it is 3.2% that’s still almost $1700 a year in income lost, close to $100 a month (or what could easily be an electric bill or just savings). RtW states are just making it harder for the average person to fight the big corporation and it has zero to do with anything about unions.

    Tiresome fights with people who argue without substance just aren’t worth my time this time of year.

    http://www.epi.org/publication/right-to-work-states-have-lower-wages/

    PS: Before you write the ‘standard of living’ argument, it’s been disproven never mind the cost of national items like cars doesn’t fluctuate region to region. It’s been accounted for in this model…..

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Union states vote for politicians that make policies which greatly increase the cost of energy. What’s the cost of living for California v. Tennessee? $1,700 doesn’t go very far here at all. How did you disprove the standard of living argument? Your lies lack traction in a country where people flee blue states every day to improve their standards of living.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        So many of those fleeing people are coming to America’s Southwest, including my area. Good for both the rental and realty business, I suppose, but not so good for the increased cost of living since all these escapees demand more law enforcement, more fire brigades, more of everything they took for granted in their Blue State, all the while driving up the price of housing and demand for food and water.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I love it, both of you squawk the exact argument that’s been blown to bits a hundred times over.

      Non-RtF states are flourishing just as RtF states do, they generally have a better GDP per capita and tend to have more population. Really, the key part of RtF is just making it harder for unions to cover the cost of operation since open shops are a legal requirement. Stop trying to blow smoke, you know you don’t have an argument.

      Never mind that as the sunbelt fills up it’ll look more and more like Colorado, a state leaning towards liberal economic views. Even Arizona is likely to fall within the next decade or so. Given that the laws dictating independent redistricting may be upheld across the land it would end the domination of Republicans there.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    First step on the long road to plant closing.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      scarey, let me get this straight:

      A worldwide multi-billion dollar scandal that indicts VW as a polluting fraud agent, devastating the automaker’s image and already depressing the transaction price of various other VW vehicles, is not a “first step” toward forcing an eventual plant closure — but a subsequent vote to unionize 10% of the plant’s workforce is?

      Did you, like, read your post before you hit “Send”?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        tony, fear not. VW will not close down. They will pay a small fine for getting caught, kiss and make up with the current EPA, and that will be it. All gone. All better.

        VW is just not a player in America. This mess has been blown out of proportion to the number of VW vehicles sold in America. There ain’t that many! An insignificant number in the overall scheme of 18+million SAAR.

        And keep in mind that the whole emissions-pollution mess was uncovered by some rogue far left liberal researchers with their own green-weenie agenda to bring this to light.

        It appears now that the EPA had colluded with VW and had turned a blind eye to possible fraud and deception by all automakers.

        This revelation took more than 14 months to come to light after the tests were duplicated by an independent disinterested party, verified and accepted by the EPA.

        VW lovers have nothing to worry about.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          VW fines and repair overhead is a rounding error in the US compared to other markets and you know it. Given this blew up in the EU, about 5% of impacted vehicles are in the US, your continued insistence that this is an EPA witch hunt and VWs problems start and stop in Washington DC is ludicrous.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …and it only took 3 posts since mine.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      As sure as the sun sets, this plant will go the same way every single other transplant factory that’s been infected with organized crime has gone. These aspiring thugs just failed their most important IQ test.

  • avatar
    arcuri

    Right to work means Right to work for lee !

  • avatar
    arcuri

    Right to work means right to work for less

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, things are really looking up for VW.

  • avatar

    May be it is a sign – it is time for VW to just leave USA for good. E.g. to Mexico.


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