An influential labor union in Germany supports UAW effort to represent VW’s hourly workers from the Chattanooga plant, Tennessee.
IG Metall President Berthold Huber said in a letter sent to the plant’s 2,350 hourly employees, that “in Chattanooga, you need union representation” to be able to negotiate working conditions.
“We strongly recommend that the eligible employees at Volkswagen, Chattanooga, decide that the UAW should represent them,” he added.
Last week, Horst Neumann, VW’s board member in charge of human resources, announced the German automaker was in talks with UAW about introducing German-style working schedule at the Tennessee plant. If VW has rejected the idea of opening the US facility to the UAW, now the company seems to support the union’s efforts and union’s president, Bob King, said that organizing US plants owned by foreign automakers is crucial for UAW’s survival.
If the UAW and VW would reach a deal, this would be the first time in UAW’s history it will have the opportunity to organize a major car maker’s plant since VW closed its Pennsylvania plant in late 1980s. In 2011, UAW had 380,000 members in 2011, from 1.5 million in 1979, including workers from GM, Chrysler and Ford, which account for a third of the total.