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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

Volkswagen global backs UAW on Tennessee plant

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Wolkswagen AG’s global works council is backing renewed efforts by the United Auto Workers in the United States to represent workers at the German carmaker’s Tennessee plant.

In a statement on Wednesday, Germany’s IG Metall union, global union umbrella group IndustriALL and other international VW labor representatives sided with the UAW, which may be facing competition from a rival workers’ group.

Frank Patta, general secretary of Volkswagen’s global works council, said the UAW was best placed to establish the “time-proven practice of co-determination at Volkswagen”.

The UAW lost an organizing vote in February at the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, but it said last month it had nearly enough members in its newly formed local for the automaker to recognize it as exclusive bargaining agent for the plant.

But some employees at the Chattanooga plant last month tried to form a rival union called American Council of Employees as a counter to the UAW’s local.

Mike Burton, who helped anti-UAW workers defeat the UAW’s effort to represent VW Chattanooga hourly workers six months earlier, said at the time he hoped the new union would force VW to hold another vote to determine which one is favored by hourly employees.

VW has often said it wants to have Chattanooga representation on its global works council.

Works council representation is in place at every major VW plant in the world except Chattanooga. In order for the Chattanooga workers to have works council representation, they must first be represented by a U.S. union, most labor law experts say. (Reuters)


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