ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
some text
UAW Local 42 President Mike Cantrell, left, speaks to fellow Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga in this file photo.

The United Auto Workers local in Chattanooga isn't ruling out another election to organize Volkswagen plant employees, but it hasn't decided on a new vote as a Facebook post claims.

"There are multiple paths toward collective bargaining," said Mike Cantrell, president of Local 42, in a statement on Monday. "All options have been and remain on the table."

A Facebook post on the page "Yes 2 UAW at Volkswagen" claims that Local 42 members had decided to move forward with a vote of maintenance, or skilled workers, at the plant.

Maintenance employees keep up and fix the specialized plant equipment, and such a bargaining unit would be much smaller than that which voted against union recognition in February 2014.

"Although we have more than enough members to win a general election, we believe this is the right way to move forward," the Facebook post said.

some text
UAW logo tile

The Facebook page isn't an official UAW site but is believed to have been set up by pro-union VW workers.

Cantrell, in the statement, didn't specifically address the website. He said Local 42 will continue exploring options to gain collective bargaining rights under federal law and in line with VW's global business practices.

"An objective for the local union has been, and still is, moving toward collective bargaining for the purpose of reaching a multi-year contract between the company and employees," Cantrell said.

Last December, a top UAW official said the union wasn't interested in another organizing election at the plant, citing so-called interference in the 2014 balloting at the plant by Republican politicians. The UAW lost the vote 712 to 626.

Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer, in December said the union has an agreement it made with the company in spring 2014 to recognize the UAW. He made the comment after Local 42 gained new rights from VW for biweekly talks with top managers and regular plant access after gaining enough members to meet a policy set up by the carmaker.

Dan Gilmore, a Chattanooga labor attorney, said he thinks VW may be willing to recognize a smaller unit than the one that took part in the original election.

"My hunch is that VW will insist on a secret-ballot election," he said.

some text
UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel addresses Times Free Press staff in an editorial board meeting at the paper in Chattanooga.

Gilmore said some manufacturing companies recognize smaller units within their plants. But, he said, the employees must have a common base of interest to be eligible for collective bargaining.

The Facebook page said there is an "overwhelming majority" of skilled trades workers at the plant who favor the union and "will not be affected by the lies and propaganda of the shadow money groups."

"It has been a long road but the end is getting near, and the closer we get the brighter it looks," the post said.

However, another group of local VW employees opposed to the UAW have organized under the banner of the American Council of Employees.

It, too, has received rights to meet with VW officials at the plant, though not as broadly as the UAW because its membership isn't as large.

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

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT