VW official: Chattanooga works council should come by 'formal vote'

VW official: Chattanooga works council should come by 'formal vote'

September 4th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

Jonathan Browning

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

POLL: Should VW unionize in Chattanooga?

Volkswagen Group of America's chief said today that the company is looking for "an innovative solution" that permits Chattanooga plant employees to have a strong voice in the automaker's global works council structure through "a formal vote."

"That process has to run its course," said Jonathan Browning during a conference call on August sales results with reporters and analysts.

Browning said the decision is up to employees "through a formal vote. Those realities haven't changed."

The CEO was responding to a question about talks between top VW and United Auto Workers officials last week in Wolfsburg, Germany, about the potential of such a labor board at the Chattanooga plant.

Some experts have said that a works council, which could include hourly and salaried employees to discuss plant-related issues, would run afoul of U.S. labor law unless a union is formally involved.

The UAW has been asking a majority of rank and file workers at the plant to sign cards authoritizing the union to represent them. Union proponents have said that the UAW could be recognized by using the signed cards if the company chooses to bypass a secret-ballot election.

See more in Thursday's Times Free Press.