Experts say that although it lost the election to unionize VW Ag’s Tennessee car facility and last week dropped out of challenging with the NLRB the vote outcome, the UAW has other means to win its bid to unionize the plant.
According to existing US law, the UAW can wait the one year period and then reorganize an official secret ballot election at the Chattanooga unit in a bid that workers at the plant could this time revert the 712-626 vote it lost on February 12-14.
While UAW challenged the election citing outside interference from anti-union groups and politicians, it unexpectedly dropped in the last minute the appeal to the US National Labor Relations Board.
Now, labor and union experts contend that the UAW could gain a foothold in the facility by setting up a smaller, specialized unit, or work with Volkswagen to enter a private election vote or reach recognition through a process named card check.
“Through a private election, the UAW might want to carve out a group of workers among whom it has considerable support. That’s a possible strategy,” said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Massachusetts.
“The issue is do you use the government NLRB route, which the employer can insist on, or do you, as an employer and a union, agree to do some other method that legally may be used to determine the wishes of the employees,” said Ron Meisburg, a former NLRB member.
The narrow loss surprised the UAW and challenged its years-long efforts to organize for the first time a foreign owned plant in the traditionally anti-union Southern US.