America’s United Auto Workers, the most important union in the automotive business in the country, forecasts that Volkswagen AG would soon change its policy to allow union representation at its lone US factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The UAW, on one side and the workers at the plant on the other have had along and enduring love/hate saga as the union has been facing numerous challenges in its bid to organize the employees and thus secure a foothold in the anti-union South.
In the beginning of the year, a ballot was cast to see if the UAW could represent the staff at the facility, but the union narrowly lost the bid to represent about 1,500 workers – although the ensuing scandal showed strengths and weaknesses on both sides. Still, the union continues to claim it has majority support from the staff. Not too long ago, the UAW worked its way around the interdiction to interfere for a year by setting up a local union – Local 42 – which, in their opinion would be soon supported by VW.
The union sent a letter to its voluntary local members, saying that “it is our understanding that Volkswagen this week will announce a new policy in Chattanooga that will lead to recognition of Local 42,” although Volkswagen has not announced anything on the matter so far. If the UAW gets the much desired recognition, it would be a premiere – the first foreign-owned auto assembly facility to give the union bargain power.