Volkswagen official threatens to block expansion if workers won't unionize

photo Bernd Osterloh

Volkswagen's top labor representative threatened today to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the U.S. South if its workers there are not unionized, Reuters reported today.

"I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the South again," said Bernd Osterloh, a member of VW's powerful supervisory board and head of VW's works council.

"If co-determination isn't guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor" of potentially building another plant in the U.S. South, said Osterloh, who was quoted in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Workers at VW's factory in Chattanooga last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers, rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a works council labor board at the plant.

Osterloh complained that "the conservatives stirred up massive antiunion sentiments."