UAW Attempts Chattanooga Again

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UAW union officials are once again attempting to organize the Volkswagen automobile factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The first attempt to organize the plant in 2014 failed, but UAW officials are back for another round.  Christina Rogers has the story in The Wall Street Journal Online.

The union hopes to win recognition for a smaller group of skilled traded workers at the factory after a previous effort to win representation for a much larger population of assembly workers there failed last year.

The UAW said Friday that it filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board to hold the vote, which seeks collective-bargaining status for about 165 skilled trade workers at the factory.

“A key objective for our local union always has been, and still is, moving toward collective bargaining for the purpose of reaching a multi-year contract between Volkswagen and employees at Chattanooga,” said Mike Cantrell, president of UAW Local 42 in Tennessee.

The UAW’s move comes as the union works to secure new four-year contracts with Detroit auto makers.
The UAW was dealt a blow last year when workers at the plant voted down representation 712 to 626, sending UAW organizers back to the drawing board. Since then, the UAW has established a local near the factory, which has recruited Volkswagen workers as members, and convinced the German auto maker to recognize it as a representative body of sorts. But the company has stopped short of granting it power to collectively bargain on the behalf of the plant’s approximate 1,500 employees.

Volkswagen aims to nearly double the assembly workforce next year in Tennessee as it brings new SUV production online.