FRANKFURT Jan 14 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.