Anti-UAW petitions handed over to VW Chattanooga managers

Anti-UAW petitions handed over to VW Chattanooga managers

October 5th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

A worker cleans a Volkswagen logo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

POLL: Do you oppose a union at the Volkswagen plant?

A Volkswagen employee trying to stop the United Auto Workers from gaining a foothold at the company's Chattanooga assembly plant turned over to management anti-union petitions with the names of 563 hourly workers.

"There are no duplicates," said plant worker Mike Burton. "I made sure it was a scrubbed list. They're now in the hands of management."

The "no2uaw" website said that all the signatures are dated from Sept. 9 through Friday. Most petitions were submitted during the last six work days at evening shift change, the site said.

Last month, the UAW said it had collected a majority of the names of about 1,600 production and skilled maintenance workers on cards it handed out seeking authorization to represent the employees.

Gary Casteel, a UAW regional director based in Lebanon, Tenn., said if petition-takers have about 30 percent of the non-management workers, then few of the employees at the factory haven't made up their minds.

Casteel said that he doesn't think the petitions will have any bearing on UAW discussions

with VW about the possibility of implementing a works council labor board at the plant.

The UAW wants VW to recognize the union using card check, rather than a secret-ballot vote.

Burton and Casteel have said that worker signatures will continue to be collected from VW employees. Burton, who has worked at the plant for more than two years, said 21 more names were garnered on Friday and aren't included in those turned into VW management Friday.

Petitioners are using National Right to Work Legal Foundation forms, which indicate that signers don't want UAW representation and are revoking a UAW authorization card if they'd previously penned one.

Mark Mix, the foundation president, has said that if VW agrees to accept the UAW cards, the petitions become important in terms of challenging the signatures.

The foundation is representing eight VW employees who filed charges against the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers said UAW organizers told them that a signature on the card was a call for a secret-ballot election. The filing by the foundation asks the NLRB to order the UAW to cease and desist from demanding recognition based upon tainted cards.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.