DETROIT Jan 23 The general counsel office of
the U.S. National Labor Relations Board has recommended that
allegations brought by workers at the Volkswagen AG
plant in Tennessee against VW and the United Auto Workers union
The recommendation is expected to be approved by the NLRB's
director of the region that includes Tennessee. That means it is
unlikely to rise to the level of a complaint to the five-member
board that heads the NLRB, but the workers can appeal the
Workers at the plant, assisted by the National Right to Work
Foundation, filed charges last fall on two issues. Both were
recommended for dismissal, according to "advice memorandums"
from the NLRB's general counsel's office made public on
Eight workers claimed that the UAW coerced them and misled
them to sign cards approving the union's representation of them.
Also, four workers alleged that VW, through a German union
representative who sits on the company's supervisory board,
threatened them by linking approval of the UAW as union
representatives to future work at the plant.
The UAW is in talks with VW to represent the 1,550 workers
at the Chattanooga plant. A deal would allow the union, which is
struggling to gain members, with a toehold in the U.S. South
where many foreign-owned auto plants are located.
The German union leader mentioned in one of the workers'
allegations, Bernd Osterloh, said on Wednesday in Germany that
any vote of workers at the plant to determine union
representation would not be held until the NLRB issue was
"This is the outcome we expected," said Gary Casteel, UAW
regional director for much of the U.S. Southeast, in a telephone
interview on Thursday. "We knew we had not done anything wrong
and this validates that," said Casteel.
He said the charges did not affect the UAW's efforts and
that talks will continue with VW officials regarding
representing Chattanooga workers.
Anthony Riedel, spokesman for the National Right to Work
Foundation, said he could not say whether the workers will
appeal the recommendation but added that the foundation would
continue to assist them in trying to keep the UAW out of the
Mark Mix, president of the foundation, said, "We are
disappointed, but hardly shocked, with the Obama NLRB's