Feb 13, 2014
From Feb. 12- 14, workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., will be voting on union representation by the UAW in a National Labor Relations Board election.
It will be an historic election, one that brings the opportunity of "works councils" and joint decisionmaking to the U.S. for the first time.
The UAW, the German union I.G Metall, which represents 2.2 million German workers at Volkswagen and other employers, and Volkswagen have been working together to create a "works council" at the Chattanooga plant.
That's exactly what members of the German union ver.di have at T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in Germany, and that's why they're supporting their T-Mobile US counterparts who also want union representation and a voice in their workplace.
Works councils are elected by the plant employees and make key decisions about how the operation is run. Volkswagen says that workers' input is critical for boosting innovation, productivity and quality and call works councils "competitive advantage," especially in the global economy. That's why Volkswagen has these elected works council at all its plants, except for Chattanooga and two in China. Volkswagen leads all major automakers in raising shareholder value over the past three years.
But just as T-Mobile US workers who want a union have faced illegal management attacks, Volkswagen workers have been the focus of a relentless anti-union campaign, with right wing forces inside and outside the state weighing in.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn) and Republican Governor Bill Haslam have mounted intense criticism of Volkswagen and have tried to block the election. These right wingers have been supported by outsiders like the National Right to Work Committee and the so-called Center for Worker Freedom. When Volkswagen's CEO told the outside agitators to back off, they ignored him.
Check out the video below, Volkswagen workers say the decision is their alone, and that the management interference needs to stop now.