published Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Anti-union group hits VW meetings

A group that’s supporting anti-union workers at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant said today that employees weren’t allowed to ask questions of United Auto Workers representatives during group meetings Tuesday.

Mike Burton, a VW employee who doesn’t support the union, said UAW organizers were given the floor to attempt to persuade team members of why they should vote for the UAW. Although the the meetings weren’t mandatory, those workers who stayed were told they could not ask questions, said Burton, who belongs to the anti-UAW group Southern Momentum.

“When management requires team members to attend a meeting, then invites team members to stay and listen to union officials who won’t answer any public questions—let alone allow questions to be asked—something stinks,” Burton said in a statement.

Southern Momentum said the UAW and VW management have agreed behind closed doors in Germany of a strategy to divide and conquer when it comes to employees.

The UAW has been granted the ability to campaign on company property, such as inside break rooms and lunch areas, and will be given an office in the plant as well as bulletin board space to post campaign literature, the group said.

Conversely, employees opposed to unionization have been denied the same opportunities to communicate their viewpoints to fellow workers, it said.

The UAW has said the employee meetings were informational, and that workers were told that it’s their choice to vote for or against the union. It termed the meetings “transparent and above board.”

See more in Thursday’s Times Free Press.

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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