Four workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga auto plant have filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that statements by German VW officials are illegally coercing fellow workers into representation by the United Auto Workers, according to the National Right to Work Foundation.
Filed with legal assistance from foundation staff attorneys, the charge comes after senior VW management in Germany stated, according to recent media reports, that for any expanded production to be considered in Chattanooga, the plant must adopt a works council that would force workers to accept the representation by the UAW.
The workers said in their charge that VW's threat that failure to accept the union would risk losing potential for job growth "interfere[s] with Chattanooga facility employees' rights to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations."
Mark Mix, president of the foundation, said in a statement that with reports that Volkswagen is considering Chattanooga to build its new SUV, "this is no idle threat."
"If VW management was discouraging workers from joining the UAW with threats, there's little question that an NLRB prosecution would have already begun at the UAW's behest," Mix said.
Eight VW workers had earlier filed NLRB charges against the UAW, alleging coersion and intimidation.
See more in Thursday's Times Free Press.