The National Right to Work Foundation is asking the U.S. Secretary of Labor to apply federal labor law related to Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant, saying foreign union groups may be conspiring to force workers into union ranks.
In a letter to Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez, the foundation spells out how officials from the German-based IG Metall union, VW's Global Group Works Council, the United Auto Workers union, and VW in Germany have participated in "high profile public activities...that trigger Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act reporting requirements."
"As it stands now, American employees of Volkswagen do not know what inside arrangements exist among UAW, IG Metall, Global Works Council, and VW," said Mark Mix, the foundation's president in a letter to Perez. "I call on you to immediately use your authorized powers to demand [disclosure reports] from IG Metall and the Global Works Council."
Mix said that the U.S. Department of Labor has thus far ignored this fact. If it continues to do so, union and company officials "may receive de facto immunity for their possible violations of the LMRDA's criminal and civil protections," he said.
The act requires union officials to make comprehensive and detailed disclosure of union financial data, prohibits persons convicted of serious crimes from serving as union officers, forces full reporting by union officers of any personal conflict-of-interest transactions, and prohibits the channeling of bribes and improper influence through middlemen.
Last week, VW in Chattanooga unveiled a new policy that sets guidelines for interactions with labor organizations whose membership includes a significant percent of VW employees.
Both the UAW and the American Council of Employees have said they've got a lot of employees in their their labor groups and are interested in dealing with the company.
But IG Metall weighed in Friday, calling on VW to recognize the UAW and criticizing the automaker for potential dealings with ACE.