UAW files charge against VW with NLRB
United Auto Workers Local 42 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Monday filed charges against Volkswagen Group of America with the National Labor Relations Board.
UAW leaders, in a statement on Tuesday, argued the automaker is violating an NLRB act by refusing to enter into collective bargaining with a group of skilled trades workers that earlier this month voted to be represented by the union.
“Following this month’s election, we were hopeful that the company would accept the results and recommit to the principles of social responsibility that made Volkswagen a respected global brand,” said Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the union’s Transnational Department, in a statement. “Instead, Volkswagen has refused to come to the bargaining table in violation of federal law.”
Casteel said by refusing to engage in collective bargaining after a successful election, VW is “not only doing a disservice to its employees but now is thumbing its nose at the federal government as well.”
The NLRB confirmed the union filed a charge against VW but declined further comment. VW officials were not immediately available to comment Tuesday.
All charges filed with the NLRB are first investigated by the regions to determine if formal action should be taken. That process can lead to an injunction, refusal to issue a complaint or a hearing.
The NLRB describes collective bargaining as an effort between an employer and employees to “bargain in good faith about wages, hours, vacation time, insurance, safety practices and other subjects.”
The skilled trades workers who specialize in repairing and maintaining machinery and robots at the German automaker’s factory in Chattanooga voted in favor of having the UAW negotiate collective bargaining deals on their behalf by a margin of 108-44 (71 percent) earlier this month.
In its election petition to the NLRB, Local 42 noted that its members asked VW to recognize the local union as the bargaining representative of skilled trades employees in early August. It denied their request, according to the union.
The vote came 20 months after the union was narrowly defeated in an election involving all hourly plant employees.