February 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Tenn. VW workers ask for right to defend UAW vote

A group of Volkswagen AG workers in Tennessee have filed a motion with the National Labor Relations Board asking for the right to challenge the United Auto Workers’ challenge of the recent vote at their Chattanooga factory.

That poll, which took place earlier this month, saw VW workers roundly reject the UAW — despite tacit support for union representation by the company.

On Friday, the UAW announced that it had filed a complaint with the NLRB contesting the vote, alleging that workers at VW plant were swayed by “extraordinary interference” from conservative politicians and other “outside” forces.

Now, five VW workers — represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation — have asked the NLRB to allow them to defend the results of the election.

“Based on Volkswagen management’s actions leading up to this point, these workers are concerned that VW will not actively defend their vote to remain free from union boss control,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation in a statement Tuesday. “That’s why these workers have filed a motion to intervene with the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.”

In their filing, the workers state that “Volkswagen and the UAW continue to collude with one another.” They point to comments made by UAW President Bob King in a local newspaper interview as proof.

“We’re obviously communicating with our great allies in the Volkswagen Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall in Germany,” King told the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week.

IG Metall is the German union that represents autoworkers in that country. Under that country’s “co-determination” laws, it is granted a place on VW’s managing board and a major say in the company’s affairs.

King has lobbied IG Metall to pressure the German automaker to allow the UAW to organize its factory in Tennessee in the hope that it would give the American union a beachhead in the South, where foreign automakers have so far managed to stymy its organizing efforts.

Bryce.Hoffman@detroitnews.com
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