Volkswagen skilled trade workers in Chattanooga vote overwhelmingly to have UAW on their side
We got awesome, awesome Organize the South news from the United Autoworkers late last week:
Skilled trades employees at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant have voted overwhelmingly to designate UAW Local 42 as their representative for the purpose of initiating collective bargaining.
“A key objective for our local union always has been moving toward collective bargaining for the purpose of reaching a multi-year contract between Volkswagen and employees in Chattanooga,” said Mike Cantrell, president of Local 42. “We have said from the beginning of Local 42 that there are multiple paths to reach collective bargaining. We believe these paths will give all of us a voice at Volkswagen in due time.”
In a two-day election on Thursday and Friday, 152 skilled trades employees cast ballots. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which supervised the election, confirmed that 71% of employees voting favored recognition for Local 42. Federal law provides for units within a workforce to seek recognition for the purpose of achieving collective bargaining.
Reuters news agency called the win "historic":
The United Auto Workers union won its first organizing vote at a foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the U.S. South on Friday, in a groundbreaking victory after decades of failed attempts.
About 71 percent of skilled trades workers who cast ballots at Volkswagen AG's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted to join the UAW, according to the company and the union.
The skilled trades workers account for about 11 percent of the 1,450 hourly employees at the plant.
If the UAW victory, as expected, survives an appeal by Volkswagen to the National Labor Relations Board, the 164 skilled trades workers will be the first foreign-owned auto assembly plant workers to gain collective bargaining rights in the southern United States.