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Together, Volkswagen and the UAW will set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor-management relations that benefit the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community in general. Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently chartered UAW Local 42, a new local union for Chattanooga Volkswagen workers. Organized by employees, Local 42 will offer workers the opportunity for a voice in the workplace through the German automaker’s “works council” approach to employee engagement. The local union will be run by, and for, the employees.
Volkswagen’s business model is premised on employee representation, and Local 42 represents any interested employees who join the union. No employees are required to join. The UAW has had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and is confident that the company will both recognize Local 42 as a union and will deal with it as a members’ union that represents employees who join the local.
In addition to advocating for wages and benefits, Local 42 will make workforce development a top priority. Ongoing job-training opportunities will help employees continually expand their skills as new technologies emerge and manufacturing processes change. Additionally, the local union will be involved in the community. Similar to other UAW locals around the country, Local 42 will support charitable causes, youth programs and other community needs.
Once established, the Volkswagen works council would be the first works council in the United States. Ultimately, such a labor relations model would give workers an integral role in co-managing the company and providing input on workplace improvements that would contribute to the success of the company and the workers. You can learn more about why Volkswagen Chattanooga workers want a works council and union representation in the VW and UAW: Putting Collaboration First video, in addition to other resources.
Voice your outrage for the unprecedented interference in the union election for Volkswagen workers. Write a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper, just 100-200 words.
Tell them you disapprove of Tennessee politicians and special interest groups with secret funding threatening the future of the plant if workers voted to unionize. Let them know how you support the Volkswagen workers’ federally-guaranteed right to form a union without threats and interference.