Five Chattanooga Volkswagen workers filed a motion today with the National Labor Relations Board to challenge claims by United Auto Workers (UAW) union that Republican politicians tainted the recent vote against UAW representation at VW.
The VW workers asked that they be allowed to present their case against the UAW charges that the vote results were unduly influenced by anti-union comments from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.., Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other politicians.
The National Right to Work Foundation, which is supporting the workers filing, said the employees should be granted status in the case to ensure that union claims are disputed since Volkswagen as the employer has signed a neutrality pledge not to fight union representation.
"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.
Mix acknowledged that such intervention would be highly unusual, but he said the secret ballot election conducted at the plant Feb. 12 to Feb. 14 allowed workers to express their views following a 2-year campaign by the UAW, which included UAW presentations within the plant shortly before the vote. Workers voted 712 to 626 against the UAW, but the union has asked the NLRB to order another election because of what the union says were threats and intimidation by local politicians.
Corker said Volkswagen planned to build the sports utility vehicle at the Chattanooga plant if workers rejected the union and Republican legislative leaders said the state would be less likely to grant incentives to Volkwagen if the plant were unionized. Previously, the head of the VW Global Works Council, Bernd Osterloh suggested that Volkswagen would be less likely to build the SUV in Chattanooga if workers rejected the union.
Mix said the workers and his foundation need to be able to challenge the UAW claims made to the NLRB hearing officer to ensure fairness in the process.
"Otherwise, UAW officials with the approval of VW and a pro-union NLRB will be able to continually throw out election results until they get the result they want," he said.
Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...