According to several sources, the most powerful labor leader of Volkswagen AG is visiting workers at the German automaker’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee to assess the possibility of union representation by the United Auto Workers.
The sources, which asked not to be identified, said Bernd Osterloh, head of the automaker’s global works council, will discuss the possibility of setting up a German-styled works council at the manufacturing facility.
Volkswagen announced it’s discussing with the United Auto Workers union to put up a works council at the plant. U.S. labor law requires that any such works council, which is made up of both employees and management, be first sanctioned through an established U.S. trade union.
UAW spokeswoman Michele Martin said the union “is having ongoing dialogue with officials from VW and the VW works council and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on when and where these discussions take place.”
The sources said that there was no indication that the UAW would join the meeting with workers, but Volkswagen and IG Metall representatives will attend.
Meanwhile, Mike Burton, a paint shop worker at the plant, one of the eight VW Chattanooga workers who filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board last week against the UAW for misleading workers; said that he and some colleagues have enough signatures on an anti-UAW petition, reaching more than 30 % of the total workforce.