DETROIT –Volkswagen workers from the Chattanooga, Tenn., facility will vote in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Feb. 12 – 14, 2014. The NLRB set the election as a result of an agreement reached between Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) and the UAW.
The Chattanooga workers will decide whether the UAW can move forward with a new collaborative approach with 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.
“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” said UAW President Bob King. “The UAW seeks to partner with VWGOA and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company,the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”
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.
“With a local works council, workers would have a voice they can use to make Volkswagen stronger; in safety, job security and efficiency,” said Jonathan Walden, Volkswagen paint technician. “Global representation means Chattanooga workers may have a strong voice in seeking new products and bringing more jobs to Tennessee.”
Co-determination is a key factor in Volkswagen’s success. Volkswagen has extensive experience with union representation and is globally recognized as being in the forefront of respecting the basic human rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Volkswagen’s Global Charter on Labor Relations and Social Charter go beyond international labor standards, establishing principles governing labor relations and social matters, even establishing principles on issues like the use of temporary workers.
“We have reached an agreement with VWGOA that will allow workers to express their opinion and decide on the question of union representation in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation,” said UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, who directs the union’s Southern organizing. “The UAW commends the company and the Global Works Council for recognizing global human rights and worker rights in Tennessee.”
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