published Friday, August 19th, 2011

VW labor exec won't promote UAW in city

A key German labor leader says he won't promote United Auto Workers' efforts to organize Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant.

Bernd Osterloh, who represents labor on the German carmaker's supervisory board, said he is keen on union representation for employees at the plant, but he would not actively promote UAW efforts to broaden its membership at VW, Reuters reported Thursday.

An auto analyst said Osterloh's remarks "aren't terribly surprising."

"He's trying to protect his own jobs," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at

Krebs said German labor leaders are nervous about plant production in that country. At the same time, the United States has become much more competitive in manufacturing autos.

"Each one wants to protect their own," she said.

The UAW has tried unsuccessfully to unionize the so-called transplants -- factories built in the South by foreign-owned automakers. But union leaders indicated this year they want to step up organizing efforts, including the VW plant in Chattanooga.

UAW southern region director Gary Casteel told The Associated Press in July that VW has had an organized workforce globally and that makes executives and employees at the Chattanooga plant "more willing to talk to unions about representation."

No official organizing effort had started, he said.

Casteel could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Guenther Scherelis, general manager of communication for VW's Chattanooga operations, said Thursday that one of its core values is the basic right of employees to have a voice in the company.

"If our team members feel the need for it, they will decide for themselves about whether to be represented by a union or not," he said.

Most of VW's plants worldwide have union representation, including some workers at the company's only other North American plant in Puebla, Mexico.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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joneses said...

Unions only take from thier members and add nothing.

August 19, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
revmike11 said...

Hey Richards! I like what you said! It is true! Unions have done more help for working class people that anything else in this country. Anyone who has worked for a union and then for a non union will tell you that the unionized jobs pay more and the employee's fair better. Unions helped open the door to equal opportunity and workplace fairness. Sounds to me that we seem to be forgetting that the companies didn't put fair labor practices and shorted work weeks or safety standards into practice until organized labor demanded it! I know that unions are the ones that made a difference it the life of its members by becoming a bargaining unit. Instead of individuals having to stand the wrath for asking for fairness, the unions took it up for them. I support the unions in this country and believe that they are here to stay as long as workplace fairness is in demand!

August 19, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
rolando said...

Problem is, this is 2011 and the unions have become an albatross around the neck of our economy. [For you school drop-out union officials, that means a burden, a reminder of where the burden came from, and who caused the burden.]

August 19, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.
HiDef said...

"For you school drop-out union officials"

Yes, thank you rolando for reminding us blue collar union workers where we stand in the eyes of the white collar elite.

August 19, 2011 at 5:01 p.m.
rolando said...

Oh, HiDef...are you one of those school drop-out union officials or one of the blue collar workers? If the latter, my comment was not aimed at you. Even then, I persume you are not one of those booze drinking/ pot smoking Chrysler-builders up north. You know, the ones swilling beer and toking up at the local union hall...during the parking lot...on video.

There is no middle ground with these guys. If you are blue collar, they just want two things from you: 1) your dues, and 2) your belief that he is working for you.

VW doesn't need unionized workers paid by seniority instead of by accomplishment, incentive, job performance, and skill level.

How about that GM? How's that working for unions on the dole? You buy a Volt yet?

August 19, 2011 at 7:57 p.m.
rolando said...

On second thought, HiDef, yes -- the unions are indeed an albatross hanging around our economy's neck. They are certainly not part of the solution.

First we need jobs -- that means someone must take a risk with their money. Non-union minimizes risk. Once successful, other jobs appear...risk is further reduced.

Who cares about pay right off the bat? First is the job, then looking around for a better job, better employer-offered not federally-mandated benefits, better pay. All those things appeared once we got started after FDR was forced to stop his meddling. The unions had little to do with it...until they forced/bought closed-shop states.

Voila! It took forty years but they destroyed Detroit and our automobile industry, our steel industry, our everything industry.

The union-supporting feds even forced Boeing to accept frequent disruptive strikes while trying to compete in the highly competitive international airliner business where timely delivery is worth billions.

August 19, 2011 at 8:48 p.m.
cinderfella1 said...

Rumor has it that they are going to bring a bunch of German workers over here to run the place. What about the american workers. If that rumor is true, then they need to shut the place down and the plant should relocate overseas. Between the illegal alians aka. mexicans taking over and Big Business allowing this illegal act, Big Business is selling out the american people and thus their own country. Now is the time to take action America.

August 20, 2011 at 3 a.m.
HiDef said...

rolando, my biggest issue is that the majority of anti-union people in the world always point the finger at the UAW. "Unions are ruining the country, just look at Detroit!" I checked and the UAW in 2003 was the 10th largest union with roughly 600,000 members. Granted that's a decent amount of people, but to paint the other 16 million workers represented by a union with the same brush is unfair and using the UAW as an example is a tired argument. Also, if unions are destroying America, what is WalMart doing then? Creating jobs? Where? Here? They certainly don't allow unions in their ranks and they're selling everyone out by getting everything made in China. And how ironic that even with the threat of unions in the U.S., foreign auto makers are continuing to bring their operations here while we continue to send ours to Mexico...It's actually quite sad.

A Volt? No way, just traded in my '07 Grand Prix (assembled in Canada) for a Subaru Tribeca (made in Indiana). The Grand Prix was a plastic piece of junk, nowhere near the quality of workmanship that was put into my '70 Corvette, which was of course assembled by union employees :-)

August 20, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
collin said...

Sad thing although they would get the advantage of not promoting UAW. On the first place VW could earn on their own and would not be needed the help of the unions. On the other hand, they have reputable dealers that truly promote the product they have such as replacement parts, which consumers are demanding in the modern day. On the other hand, Volkswagen is truly reaching the peak of success as they were today. They not just specialize autos but would prioritize to open the opportunity for drivers to access auto repair guide and replacement parts online. These days, there would not be a problem when you are looking for rare stuff such as grille assembly, suspension parts and engine parts because they are truly available and can be access with a few clicks of your mouse. On the other hand, there are also a great number of auto repair shops that you can rely on every time you encounter troubles on your vehicles.

January 12, 2012 at 8:40 p.m.
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