German unions back ongoing UAW strive to unionize VW’s Chattanooga plant image

The US union, which lost an election back in the beginning of the year to organize workers at Volkswagen’s sole factory in the country, just won two precious allies.

Both German union IG Metall and the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council backed the UAW and signed together with the US union a September 9 letter of intent to “Organize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee workers as a UAW-represented facility.” The step is actually mandated by US law – the idea of a works council representation, akin to the procedure encountered in many VW factories, needs the backing of a US sanctioned union.

“This is an alignment between the three institutions and to my knowledge there has never been an agreement such as this,” said UAW Secretary Treasurer Gary Casteel. “It gives us the support of one of the main foundations of the VW system and that is the Works Council.”

Volkswagen’s works council is formed from employee representatives and collaborates with the automaker’s management team when it comes to disputes at the workplace. The IG Metall is a powerful labor union in Germany that represents workers in many of the country’s industries.

Back in February, the UAW lost 712 to 626 the bid to become the worker’s union amid a tense battle between the US union, elected Republican officials and other parties that opposed labor unions in the region.