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New cars await shipment at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant in this file photograph.
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UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel addresses Times Free Press staff in an editorial board meeting at the paper on Aug. 29.
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Christian Koch, president/CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, speaks to officials and guests while at the Hunter Museum of American Art on July 15, 2014 as they gather for Volkswagen's announcement that they are investing $600 million to create 2,000 new jobs and expand the Chattanooga plant where they will be producing a new sport utility vehicle.

The United Auto Workers local in Chattanooga has met a level of support that for the first time will enable it to start meetings with Volkswagen officials at the factory.

The company will reach out to the UAW in the near future to start the discussion regarding the opportunities available to them under the automaker's community organization engagement policy, according to VW.

At the highest of three levels, at least 45 percent of the plant's eligible workforce, Local 42 can meet biweekly with plant's executive committee and human resources office. Also, the UAW can reserve and utilize on-site locations for meetings on nonwork time with staff and/or employees as reasonably needed.

In addition, groups can reserve and utilize space in the Conference Center for internal employee meetings on non-work time once per month, and post announcements and information in company-designated locations.

Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer, said the local leadership is ready to move forward with additional conversations with the company.

"As a starting point, UAW Local 42 will take advantage of the company's offer to establish biweekly meetings with Volkswagen Human Resources and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee," he said.

Last month, VW put into effect the policy that set guidelines for dialogue between the company and labor groups. The policy set certain membership levels for groups, which set a tiered opportunity for talks with top Chattanooga plant officials use of company space for group meetings.

A rival labor group to the United Auto Workers has complained that the German automaker, which includes labor unions in its leadership structure, has unfairly implemented its new labor policy to favor the UAW.

See more in Tuesday's Times Free Press.

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