A labor group trying to sign up Chattanooga Volkswagen plant employees as members said today it has delivered hundreds of documents which it says would invalidate some signatures collected by the United Auto Workers.
Maury Nicely, an attorney for the American Council of Employees, said the documents delivered directly to a Volkswagen-appointed auditor detail hundreds of examples of employees rescinding previous authorizations they may have signed in support of UAW representation.
“According to these documents, a vast portion of the signatures submitted by the UAW are inaccurate, unreliable, and out of date,” Nicely said in a statement. “In the service of fairness and transparency, VW’s auditors must also confirm that all certified authorization signatures include an original, written date to confirm when the signatures were obtained.”
However, Mike Cantrell, president of UAW Local 42 in Chattanooga, said the claims are "bogus and without merit."
"UAW Local 42 successfully completed a rigorous membership verification process established by Volkswagen and managed by an independent auditor. As anticipated, UAW Local 42 quickly surpassed the highest level under the company's new Community Organization Engagement policy, and the local union's membership exceeds a majority of workers at the plant," he said.
Earlier this week, an independent auditor hired by VW said that the UAW has at least 45 percent of the plant’s blue-collar workers as members. Under a policy VW enacted last month, that action triggered new rights for the UAW such a bi-weekly meetings with the plant’s executive committee.
Sean Moss, interim-president of ACE, said the auditor’s decision to certify “patently invalid UAW signatures can only be described as a clear violation of VW’s Community Organization Engagement Policy.”
“While we continue to play by the rules, the UAW, supported by members of VW management, has manipulated the process and has gone so far as to attempt to represent employees who have specifically withdrawn any support for the UAW whatsoever.”
Moss said ACE is expecting “a substantial reduction” in UAW’s membership total to be announced by the auditor soon.
Meanwhile, he said, ACE is preparing its membership list for certification.
He said that process that has been delayed because, unlike the UAW, its members include both hourly and salaried workers, and Volkswagen has ignored its request for a list of eligible employees, as was provided to the UAW.
See more in Friday’s Times Free Press.