UAW, VW didn’t violate labor law in Chattanooga, NLRB says

By Mike Pare

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Volkswagen assembly line employee works beneath a new Passat.
A Volkswagen assembly line employee works beneath a new Passat.
Photo by Tim Barber.

A probe by the National Labor Relations Board has found that the United Auto Workers and Volkswagen did not violate U.S. labor law during the union’s organizing efforts at the automaker’s Chattanooga plant.

It’s immediately unclear how the NLRB reports will affect the union’s efforts to gain recognition at the plant, or whether VW will move ahead with an announcement to produce a new sport utility vehicle in Chattanooga.

The NLRB report found that the UAW did not run afoul of the law when it claimed it had a majority of signatures of hourly employees on cards requesting the workers’ permission to represent them. The NLRB determined the UAW didn’t violate the law in its solicitation or handling of the authorization cards.

In addition, in a related case, the NLRB said that VW did not provide unlawful assistance to the union. Also, the NLRB said, VW did not unlawfully threaten to condition future work at the plant on whether employees select the UAW as its bargaining representative.

“The employer did not unlawfully interfere with employees’ right to refrain from supporting the union, or provide unlawful assistance to the union,” the NLRB said.

The complaints against the UAW and VW were filed last year by some employees at the plant.

Bernd Osterloh, VW’s global works council chief, told Bloomberg on Wednesday that a potential vote by hourly workers at the factory on UAW representation is unrelated to a decision by the automaker on where to place production of a new sport utility vehicle.

But, he said that the timing had been hampered by the NLRB complaints.

See more in Friday’s Times Free Press.