May 5, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Nashville, TN – The United Auto Workers began a petition campaign Apr. 26 to urge Volkswagen to recognize a union at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant.
“For months, Volkswagen has used every stall tactic available to avoid recognizing workers’ right to form a union and negotiate a contract,” UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel said in an email to the 1 million active and retired members. “Sign the petition now and tell Volkswagen to put an end to the stall tactics.” Skilled maintenance workers at the Chattanooga plant voted to join UAW Local 42 in 2015, but VW has refused to negotiate with them, saying it would only recognize a union of all workers. It is challenging the National Labor Relations Board’s order that it start contract talks with Local 42 in federal court. VW’s German management is “not opposed to unionization per se,” Casteel told USA Today Apr. 27, but is “still interested in a plant-wide election.” He said the odds of organizing workers in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, which have emerged as a major region for auto and auto-parts production, are getting better, because nonunion auto work there is “not really considered a real lucrative job anymore.’’ Read more