| March 11
March 11 The U.S. National Labor Relations Board
has decided that anti-union Volkswagen workers can
defend the results of a mid-February union election that the
United Auto Workers lost at a Chattanooga, Tennessee VW plant.
The NLRB's unusual ruling on Monday gives anti-UAW groups,
such as the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and
Southern Momentum, more leverage in the fight over unionizing
The ruling means that if the NLRB holds a hearing on the
dispute, the anti-UAW workers may participate and make their
case, along with the UAW. No hearing has been scheduled, though
labor lawyers have said there likely will be one.
The UAW is trying to expand into the American South among
non-union, foreign-owned auto plants. But its effort last month
collided with opposition from senior Tennessee Republican
politicians, such as U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill
Haslam, as well as outside interest groups, including one from
Washington headed by small-government crusader Grover Norquist.
The UAW lost its effort to organize the VW plant when
workers voted 712-626 not to join the union. It then asked the
NLRB to set aside the results of the election, arguing that
outside parties compromised the process.
The Chattanooga dispute is unusual in several ways. VW
remained technically neutral during the UAW campaign, though the
German company gave the union access to its facilities during
the days leading up to the election. Employers often oppose
union campaigns. The automaker also said it would not defend
election results before the board.
The NLRB's regional office in Atlanta is handling the UAW's
challenge to the election. That office is investigating whether
outside groups interfered in the election process. Its findings
can be appealed to the five-member NLRB board in Washington.
Former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein said in an
interview on Monday that the regional office's determination in
the case "is a couple of months off. And it could take a lot
longer than that."