UAW statement on VW Works Council in Chattanooga


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DETROIT — The UAW issued this statement today regarding discussions concerning representation and a works council for the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga (Tenn.):

The UAW confirms that officials of Volkswagen Group, the Volkswagen Global Works Council and the UAW met in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Aug. 30, 2013, in a continuation of previous meetings between their representatives. The meeting focused on the appropriate paths, consistent with American law, for arriving at both Volkswagen recognition of UAW representation at its Chattanooga facility and establishment of a German-style works council. We look forward to future discussions.

VW is a company that is globally recognized as being at the forefront of respecting the basic human rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain as spelled out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Every major VW assembly facility in the world, with the exception of the Chattanooga facility, has worker representation and a seat on the VW Global Works Council.

VW’s Global Labor Charter and VW’s Social Charter go beyond international labor standards, establishing principles governing labor relations and social matters such as remuneration systems, information and communication, training, occupational health and safety, social and ecological sustainability, labor standards at suppliers and, most recently, principles for the use of temporary workers. The Charter also establishes annual labor-management meetings and gives employee bodies the right to hold workforce meetings at least once per year at which management informs the workforce on the economic situation and developments in the area of human resources and social matters.

The UAW commends VW management and the Global Works Council for their record of recognizing global human rights and worker rights and looks forward to working with them collaboratively in Tennessee.

Volkswagen is a company that has extensive experience with union representation and the UAW believes the role of the union in the 21st century is to create an environment where both the company and workers succeed. The UAW appreciates the opportunity to have direct discussions with VW management. Ultimately, however, it’s the workers in Chattanooga who will make the decision on representation and a works council.

If the Chattanooga workers choose to have representation and a works council, the UAW is committed to engaging with VW in open, fair and respectful dialogue to create an environment where Tennessee workers can participate in VW’s global work council system.

VW workers in Chattanooga have the unique opportunity to introduce this new model of labor relations to the United States, in partnership with the UAW. Such a labor relations model would give workers the job security that would accompany their having an integral role in managing the company and a vehicle to provide input on workplace improvements that will contribute to the company’s success.

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