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Accusations Claim Volkswagen Plans to Go Union Regardless of Workers' Vote

An anti-union group is claiming workers' rights at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN, are being disregarded, but the UAW insists that outside interference has been the problem all along.


The Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) stated in a release on Monday that Volkswagen is considering handing over its Chattanooga plant to the United Auto Workers (UAW), despite the fact that workers have rejected the union.

The CWF, which is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform, describes itself as, “a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to warning the public about the causes and consequences of unionization.” The group posted a statement on its website on Monday, claiming that sources have told them that Volkswagen is considering disregarding the February 14 election results, in which VW workers rejected the union in a 712 to 626 vote over the course of a three-day election. The election was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The CWF indicated that they have been told Volkswagen is considering accepting the authorization cards the union claims to have collected last year, although these alleged cards have never been examined by a third party, and VW workers have complained to labor authorities that they have been “tricked or coerced” into signing the described cards.

The CWF says that they support freedom of association, and they believe that each worker should have the right to choose whether or not they belong to a labor organization. CWF executive director Matt Patterson said in the website release that the proposed suppression of democratically expressed wishes of Volkswagen employees would result in a “betrayal without precedent in the history of American labor relations”:

The workers at Volkswagen Chattanooga were force-fed UAW propaganda for over two years, yet still courageously and unequivocally rejected the union. If the company lets the union walk in anyway, it will have made clear its contempt not only for its workers and the state of Tennessee, but the democratic principle itself.

The CWF indicated that a spokesman for the NLRB refused to comment on whether it was legal for a company to accept previously collected union authorization cards after the results of a secret ballot election have been announced. But, the UAW was not unclear in its response to those results, calling it an “outrage” that the NLRB allowed groups with “shadowy funding” to interfere with the election process, and claimed that politicians inundated Volkswagen workers with two weeks of anti-UAW propaganda to influence the vote.

A challenge to the February vote was filed by the UAW with the NLRB; a hearing on the challenge is set to begin on April 21 in Chattanooga.

Other Volkswagen stories of interest:
Agreement with Unions Takes Volkswagen Closer to Full Control of Scania

Image: Flickr CC


shirl (not verified)    April 8, 2014 - 3:23PM

labor unions were needed when they were first started...not the same situation today. I am not saying they are not needed, it is just so diff than it was then. now, info. is at our fingertips, lawyers are everywhere and always ready to bring a lawsuit for unfair treatment, etc. years ago, the union was the only force available. info. was scarce, help for indiv. rarely avail or affordable, I don't know...everything has changed so much in the last 50 years or so. w/the computer, everything has changed, every life touched, and every institution fighting to remain viable....including unions.