Volkswagen global labor representatives back UAW’s implication in Tennessee plant image

Volkswagen AG’s global works council is supporting the renewed effort from the United Auto Workers to represent workers at the German automaker’s Tennessee plant.

Germany’s IG Metall union, the global union umbrella group IndustriALL and other international Volkswagen labor representatives sided with the UAW, which might face competition from a rival workers’ group. While UAW lost an organizing vote in February at the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, it said last month that it had almost enough members in its newly formed local as for the automaker to recognize it as the exclusive bargaining agent for the plant.

However, some employees at the Chattanooga plant tried in August to form a rival union called American Council of Employees to oppose to the UAW’s local.

Mike Burton, who helped anti-UAW workers defeat the UAW’s efforts to represent VW Chattanooga hourly workers six months ago, said at that time that he hoped the new union would force VW to hold another vote in order to determine which one is favored by the employees.

Volkswagen has often said it wants to have a Chattanooga representation on its global works council, a form of management that is in place at every major VW plant in the world, except for Chattanooga. Most labor law experts say that for the Chattanooga workers to have a works council representation, they must first be represented by a U.S. union.

By Gabriela Florea