Volkswagen-Chattanooga: Life After the UAW Vote
What's next for Volkswagen?
Everybody is still talking about the close defeat the United Auto Workers Union suffered at the company's only factory in America.
The issue of employee representation at V-W is not dead however. In fact last Friday's narrow "No" vote almost guarantees an alternative that the company is considering on its own.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said he understands that Volkswagen believes an American-style works council is a competitive advantage for the company.
"They're the ones who make the cars, not me," says Mayor Berke. "I think they're going to continue to find what works for them."
Volkswagen Chattanooga Chief Executive Officer Frank Fischer made it clear after the vote last Friday night that what works for the company instead of the U-A-W, could be a committee of employees working with management on the day-to-day operations of the factory.
It is based on the works council that V-W has at its plants in Germany and around the world.
"Our goal remains to determine the best method to establishing a works council that serves our employees' interests and Volkswagen-America's production needs, in accordance with U.S. law," Fischer said at the news conference after the vote last Friday.
Right now, U-S law is the issue. Works councils are illegal in America, unless the V-W workers vote in a union.
Although they passed on the United Auto Workers Union, industry watchers like Sean McAlinden with the Center for Automotive Research say other unions could court the Volkswagen workers. However McAlinden questions whether a union OR a works council would be better than a top-notch, human resources department.
"I don't think you can allow a council to make changes in job descriptions, occupations, pay, holidays, personal time issues, things like that."
McAlinden said in his opinion, right now the Volkswagen workers would be best served to let the issue of works councils and unions rest for a while, giving both sides a chance to weigh any and all options.
The next big announcement for Volkswagen could be where its new S-U-V will be built. Chattanooga is being considered for that, along with V-W's huge facility in Mexico.
By Calvin Sneed
More Business News
Last Update on October 02, 2015 17:45 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. hiring slowed sharply last month and previous job gains were revised lower amid a broad slowdown in the global economy.
The Labor Department says employers added just 142,000 jobs in September as manufacturers and oil drillers shed workers. Hiring in July and August was revised lower by 59,000.
The unemployment rate remained 5.1 percent, but only because more Americans stopped looking for work. The proportion of Americans working or searching for jobs fell to a new 38-year low.
Average hourly wages also slipped by a penny and have risen a tepid 2.2 percent in the past year.
U.S. consumers are spending at a healthy pace, boosting job gains in sectors like retail and hotels and restaurants. But lackluster growth overseas has sharply reduced exports of factory goods.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount in eight months, led by a drop in demand for commercial airplanes and weakness in a key category that tracks business investment spending.
The Commerce Department says factory orders declined 1.7 percent in August after a slight gain of 0.2 percent in July. It was the biggest setback since orders dropped 3.7 percent in December.
Demand in a key category that serves as a proxy for business investment slipped 0.8 percent in August, following solid gains of 1.9 percent in July and 1.5 percent in June.
Manufacturing has been under stress this year as a strong dollar has hurt export sales. The big fall in energy prices has also resulted in cutbacks in investment by energy companies.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart has laid off 450 workers at its headquarters as the world's largest retailer attempts to become more nimble to compete with the likes of Amazon.com.
There are about 18,000 people who work at the headquarters Bentonville, Arkansas. The cuts were across all areas, from finance to global e-commerce. The company says that the employees were spoken to individually early on Friday.
The cuts follow months of rumors about job headquarters cuts and they were announced a month and a half after Wal-Mart cut its annual earnings outlook.
BERLIN (AP) -- Volkswagen subsidiary Audi says customers in Germany can now go to its website to see if their vehicles are among those installed with software that the company says was used to manipulate U.S. emissions testing.
Audi said Friday that customers in Germany could enter their car's serial number on the www.audi.de site to see if their car is affected. Audi says the function will be extended worldwide over national Audi sites in the coming week.
The company says customers can also go to Audi dealers to check on their vehicles, and that a fix will be presented to authorities in October.
Affected are some 2.1 million Audis with the 1.6 or 2 .0 liter TDI diesel motors with the designation EA 189 that are approved for the EU5 emissions standard.
BERLIN (AP) -- A German industry group says that German car exports were up 7 percent in September compared with a year earlier, while new registrations of cars at home climbed 5 percent.
The VDA group said Friday that German manufacturers exported 417,800 cars last month. It didn't give a breakdown of the destinations but pointed to rising demand elsewhere in western Europe.
In Germany itself, registrations of both German-made and foreign-branded cars climbed 5 percent to a total 272,500. VDA said that new registrations of diesel cars accounted for about 47 percent of the total and were up 8 percent.
The group didn't break down the number of cars sold at home and exported by individual manufacturers. News of the Volkswagen diesel emissions-rigging scandal in the U.S. emerged Sept. 18.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's state TV is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total will be the first foreign companies to be allowed to operate gasoline stations inside Iran.
The Press TV English-language channel quotes the head of Iran's filling stations union, Bijan Haj Mohammadreza, as saying 100 new licenses have been issued to each company.
Until now, the only retail service stations belonged to the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company.
The agreement comes after Iran and world powers reached a deal in July that curbs the Persian country's disputed nuclear program in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- A regulatory agency says the nation's first offshore wind farm has experienced safety and welding problems and regulators are closely monitoring construction.
Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island.
Inspection reports cite near misses with dropped objects, personnel working under suspended loads, the use of older cranes poorly suited to the environment and the repeated failure of rigging equipment.
The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council says the safety problems have been addressed.
It's working with Deepwater Wind to ensure the problem with the welding process is only a paperwork issue. The welds passed inspections.
Deepwater says it's confident in the project's progress.
Construction began in July. The wind farm is expected to generate power by the end of 2016.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Some fishermen say Maine regulators' plan to place new restrictions on the scalloping industry is the right way to ensure the fishery keeps rebuilding.
Maine's meaty scallops are prized in restaurants and fish markets. Fishermen caught more than 4.9 million pounds of the scallops last year, up from less than 700,000 pounds five years earlier. Catches sometimes topped 10 million pounds in the 1990s.
Fishery managers say the scallops need additional protections along the state's southern coast. They want to close some spots to fishing and reduce the number of fishing days from 70 to 60 in the area.
Portland-based scallop fisherman Alex Todd supports the restrictions. He says fishing pressure on scallops is up because prices have been high.
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