Back in February the United Auto Workers lost a ballot to unionize workers at Volkswagen AG’s sole US plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But now, trough a newly formed local, the union is close to an unexpected victory.
According to a senior UAW official, the newly organized local UAW 42 (established five weeks ago) has almost completed the membership base required for the German automaker to potentially see it as the exclusive bargaining agent for the manufacturing facility.
“Volkswagen is ignoring the majority opinion as expressed in a democratic election,” said Mike Burton, one of the workers heading the anti-union move. “We feel cheated out of our victory by the way Volkswagen is aligning with the UAW.”
Gary Casteel, UAW secretary-treasurer, refrained from saying how many of the 1,500 workers at the factory have signed for the local, and added that even if the number would reach the majority required by the automaker, he is unable to assess if the German company will select it as the sole bargaining agent. Casteel added that the local UAW 42 now has enough members to surpass the February result – lost by the union 712 to 626; meaning the membership base exceeds 670 workers. The announcement comes shortly after Volkswagen announced it’s mulling the production of a new mid-sized SUV at the plant, creating 2,000 new jobs in the process.