CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UPI) — Four auto workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., have accused Volkswagen’s factory management of using threatening misinformation in support of union representation.
The four workers, three of whom filed a formal complaint against the United Auto Workers union in September on a procedural issues, have complained to the National Labor Relations Board management at the plant has suggested future work at the factory depends on workers accepting the German company’s works council management style, which would include UAW representation.
The Detroit News reported Tuesday the workers’ complaint has the backing of the National Right to Work Foundation, a group that supports workers who want a job in a unionized business, but do not want to join a union.
The factory in Chattanooga is one of two Volkswagen plants — the other one in Mexico — that may be chosen to build the company’s next crossover SUV. The workers allege management has hinted the work would go to the Mexican factory if workers in Tennessee do not adopt the company’s management style, which allows workers to be represented on managerial councils.
“With reports that Volkswagen is considering Chattanooga to build its new SUV, this is no idle threat,” National Right to Work Foundation president Mark Mix said in a statement. “If VW management was discouraging workers from joining the UAW with threats, there’s little question that an NLRB prosecution would have already begun at the UAW’s behest,” Mix said.
The situation in Tennessee is not without irony. While most companies fight unions over organizing workers, Volkswagen’s management, with a push from union workers in Germany, has accepted the idea of worker representation in Tennessee, the News said.
Yet, the plant in Chattanooga is the only major assembly plant in the United States that does not have organized labor representing it, the News said.
The UAW said in September workers at the factory approved of using the works council style of management, as a majority had signed cards in favor of union support.
The card signing procedure was the subject of the other labor board complained filed, the News said.