The stakes are high at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, as the workers will be called this week to vote whether they want or not to be organized by the United Automobile Workers.
The planned vote could bring for UAW’s President Bob King one of its biggest victories to date, as an agreement could lead to organized labor opening up the non-union South, where most of the foreign assembly factories are located.
On the other hand, loosing the vote would mean other such campaigns currently discussed at plants in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee could be threatened, while also proving a severe blow to the organization that already struggles with declining numbers among its membership.
Also, such an important step also attracted political views, as Governor Bill Haslam and US Senator Bob Corker, both Republicans, have publicly spoken against the UAW, while Volkswagen on the other hand took no sides – though most of its plants have a form of union representation.
“If they lose this vote, then it is going to set them back in a big way because this vote will be taken with a company that is not actively opposing them,” said Dennis Cuneo, a managing partner of pro-management law firm Fisher & Phillips. “If they win, they are going to have momentum as they go after similarly situated companies.”
Supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, the workers election will take place this week at the factory from Wednesday to Friday.