Tag Archive for: unfair labor practice

Chattanooga, Tenn. — At noon on Monday, December 18th, UAW President Shawn Fain will accompany a delegation of Volkswagen workers and community and faith leaders to deliver a letter to Volkswagen management demanding the company end its union-busting and intimidation, as workers organize to join the UAW. 

“These workers at your plant are our neighbors, congregants, family, and friends, and we applaud them for having the courage to demand better for themselves and our community,” reads the letter from CALEB (Chattanoogans in Action for Love, Equality and Benevolence), a community and faith coalition advocating for economic justice in Chattanooga. “However, we are deeply concerned by the stories Chattanooga workers have shared with us regarding Volkswagen’s efforts to stop them—in some cases illegally—from exercising their rights.” 
 
On Monday, December 11, Volkswagen workers filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Volkswagen for illegally intimidating, interfering with, and spying on pro-union workers. 

Today, VW workers are filing another federal labor charge against the company for unlawful company policies concerning social media, dress code, and flyering that have a chilling effect on workers’ rights to stand up and speak out publicly about their working conditions and the need to unionize. 

Volkswagen’s illegal actions come on the heels of the UAW announcing that well over 1,000 workers, making up over 30 percent of the Chattanooga plant, have signed union cards as part of a national movement of non-union autoworkers organizing to join the UAW in the wake of the union’s record contract victories at Ford, GM, and Stellantis. 

In the face of aggressive anti-union campaigns, workers organizing with the UAW at Honda in Indiana, Hyundai in Alabama, and Volkswagen in Tennessee, have filed charges against management for illegally union-busting as workers organize to join the UAW.

“We are filing an unfair labor practice charge against Honda because of management illegally telling us to remove union stickers from our hats, and for basically threatening us with write-ups,” says Honda worker Josh Cupit in a new video released by More Perfect Union. “It’s essentially to show Honda that we know what our rights are and that they’re not gonna bully us and we’re not gonna back down from ’em. And we know that they are in the wrong.”

“These companies are breaking the law in an attempt to get autoworkers to sit down and shut up instead of fighting for their fair share,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “But these workers are showing management that they won’t be intimidated out of their right to speak up and organize for a better life. From Honda to Hyundai to Volkswagen and beyond, we’ve got their back. The auto industry’s record profits should mean record contracts for these workers, too.”

Fain will meet with thousands of non-union autoworkers on Facebook Live tonight at 5 p.m. ET. The media is invited to access the livestream at the UAW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel

Honda workers report being targeted and surveilled by management for pro-union activity at the company’s Indiana Auto Plant in Greensburg, Indiana. Hundreds of workers at the facility have signed union cards and are organizing to join the UAW.

At Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, well over 1,000 workers signed union cards in less than a week, and hundreds more continue to sign up. Management has harassed and threatened workers for talking about the union; confiscated and destroyed pro-union materials in the break room; attempted to intimidate and illegally silence pro-union workers; and has attempted to illegally prohibit workers from distributing union literature and discussing union issues in non-work areas on non-work time. Volkswagen has made public claims of “official neutrality” in past union efforts while aggressively pushing an anti-union message in forced meetings and internal literature.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, at an early morning shift change, security guards stopped a group of Volkswagen union supporters from distributing flyers to their coworkers at Gate 3.

“We’ve done hand billing at that gate before and the company has never done anything like this,” said Dave Gleeson, a production team member in finish and repair. “We were just getting ready to hand out flyers and security came up and told us we couldn’t. I asked if this was his decision, and he said no, this is coming from way over my head. Our campaign caught the company completely flat-footed, and they overreacted. We’re not going to be intimidated. We know our rights and we’re going to keep standing up and keep speaking out.”

At Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant, management has unlawfully confiscated, destroyed, and prohibited pro-union materials in non-work areas during non-work times. Hundreds of workers continue to sign up to win their union despite this illegal interference and intimidation.

Beverly McCall, a team member in engine assembly at the Hyundai plant, was in the parking lot passing out union leaflets on non-work time when a manager told her to stop. “The manager came up and told me you can’t be out here doing that,” said McCall. “I just kept right on doing what I was doing. We have every right to get the word out and they can’t stop us.”

Tim Cripple, a team member in engine assembly at Hyundai, was in a break room and had a few union leaflets on the table in front of him. “A group leader came in and called team relations on the phone,” said Cripple. “They said you can’t have them in here and the group leader threw them in the trash. At the same time, they have someone from the company sitting in the cafeteria handing out anti-union t-shirts and flyers. That’s just wrong, and we are not going to be silenced.”

The board charges are a defiant response to low-road behavior that is typical of the worst actors in anti-union coercion campaigns. Organizing a union free from management interference or threats is a federally protected right that is indispensable to a democratic, free society.

Thousands of non-union autoworkers across the country have launched campaigns to organize more than a dozen automakers across the country, building off the historic success of the UAW’s Stand Up Strike at the Big Three. To learn more, and to join the campaign, workers can go to UAW.org/join.