State officials call on outside special interests to let VW workers decide


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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – State lawmakers will gather tomorrow to speak in support of Volkswagen workers who demand an end to interference from outside special interest groups in the union representation election to be held at the corporation’s Chattanooga plant this week.

The workers will vote in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Feb. 12–14, 2014. Following the election announcement, special interest groups like the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform launched an intense campaign in Chattanooga, aimed at swaying the outcome of the vote.

“We value the economic impact that Volkswagen has had on Chattanooga. Volkswagen and the UAW agreed to an election process that gives workers the rare opportunity to express their desire and make a decision on union representation in an environment that is free from intimidation and coercion,” said JoAnne Favors, who represents the 28th District in the state House of Representatives, which includes Chattanooga. “Volkswagen has asked third parties to remain neutral and leave the decision to the workers and we’re calling on them to respect that request.”

The Volkswagen workers are hoping for a new collaborative approach with Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) based on the principles of co-determination that would include the formation of a works council at its Chattanooga facility. This would be the first works council established in the United States.

Chattanooga is the only major Volkswagen assembly facility without labor representation. With a works council, the Chattanooga plant would have a seat at the VW Global Group Works Council. 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.

Who: JoAnne Favors, Tennessee House of Representatives, 28th District

Sherry Jones, Tennessee House of Representatives, 59th District

What: News conference with state officials

Where: IBEW Local 175, 3922 Volunteer Dr., Chattanooga, Tenn.

When: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, 1 p.m.

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