May 21, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chattanooga, TN – The National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Volkswagen May 12, alleging that the company illegally refused to bargain with United Auto Workers Local 42 over changes to health-insurance benefits and scheduling at its Chattanooga factory.
The board said those issues were “mandatory subjects for the purposes of collective bargaining” and that VW had raised them “without prior notice to the union and without affording the union an opportunity to bargain with respondent with respect to this conduct and the effects of this conduct.” VW said it can’t bargain with Local 42, which skilled-trades mechanics at the plant voted to join in December 2015, until a federal appeals court rules on its claim that the union is not a legitimate bargaining unit because it doesn’t include production workers. The NLRB has ruled that the company should recognize the skilled-trade workers as a separate unit within the plant. Local 42 President Steve Cochran told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that workers were “disappointed that Volkswagen has decided to operate in violation of federal law by ignoring the NLRB’s order to join employees at the bargaining