UAW says will be in VW's Tennessee plant by June - paper

FRANKFURT Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:18am EST

FRANKFURT Jan 14 (Reuters) - The head of the United Auto Workers (UAW) is convinced the union will be represented in carmaker Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by June, he told a German newspaper.

A clear majority of employees at the plant wanted to be represented by the UAW and they have signed a declaration of intent to that effect, UAW President Bob King told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in an interview.

Volkswagen (VW) has called for a formal vote by employees.

"We are also working well with the company. VW has been very fair in its dealings with us and wants its employees to have a voice," King said, adding that the union was not putting pressure on employees at the plant to back the union.

The UAW has pushed VW to accept a German-style labour council at the plant in Chattanooga, which would require the involvement of the U.S. union under American labour law.

VW said in September it was in talks with the UAW about establishing such a labour council at the plant, which would be a first for the U.S. union.

The UAW, which has lost membership over the past three decades because of increasing automation and job cutbacks by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, wants to organise VW workers to gain a toehold in the U.S. south, where foreign automakers have non-union factories.

King, who is due to step down from his post as president in June, said his union was working to represent workers at Daimler's and BMW's plants in the southern states of Alabama and South Carolina, as well as at plants of Japanese auto maker Nissan, which opposes the union.

The UAW was cooperating with Daimler's works council and German union IG Metall but had yet to persuade management to accept the union. "I find it surprising that Daimler is not making sure its American management is sticking to global standards," King said.

"We also are maintaining contact with BMW, but we are concentrating for the moment on VW, Nissan and Daimler. It is simply a question of resources," he said.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
knighthawk05 wrote:
Rolling on the floor laughing. I don’t think the rank & file at VW are ready to embrace the UAW with open arms. In open discussions recently, the main question seems to be why we can’t have Works Councils without a union. (Thank Bill Clinton’s ’96 veto of the TEAM Act which was specifically meant to allow it.)

King is still chanting about the cards, claiming over half have signed. If true, he’d have been knocking at the NLRB’s door long ago. He’s got old expired cards, cards signed by temps, cards from former employees, & cards “purchased” with free tickets to a theme park, and he still doesn’t have enough.

All the people here are asking for is a secret ballot vote.

Jan 14, 2014 2:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.