Although workers at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant voted down representation by the United Auto Workers back in February, talk of the union coming in anyway, has been strong ever since.
Now, workers may have another choice besides the UAW, with another union appearing on the horizon.
Its chief organizer says that choice offers Volkswagen employees another alternative. Volkswagen employee Mike Burton says despite UAW efforts to organize workers at the plant, some of them still have animosity towards the United Auto Workers union.
"We don't like the dues structure, we don't like where the dues go," says Burton, "and actually, we don't like what the UAW stands for."
He says, since workers voted down UAW representation, a lot of people have been waiting for something else.. an alternative, if there was one.
Enter the American Council of Employees. Burton says, it's an employee-based union. "It's going to be us taking care of ourselves, and representing ourselves to Volkswagen as simply as we can."
Burton says, in the first day, more than 100 employees indicated a willingness to join the ACE. He says, ACE will need 30 per cent plus one of the employees to OK the ACE. They can then go to Volkswagen management to get recognition, just like the UAW could.
Burton says, he expects a big push back from the UAW. "I can see by the end of the year or early in the first quarter, that there will yet be another election," he says, "except this time, it won't be 'yes' or 'no' to the UAW. It'll be 'UAW' or "ACE."
Burton says he also has a message for his fellow VW employees, still sitting on the union-no union fence. "Join with me on this journey," he says, "we're going to discover as we go."
We spoke with UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel this afternoon. He says, VW workers are entitled to do whatever they want, but he says the UAW has already collected more than 700 signatures towards representation by its Local 42.
Casteel says right now, any other union would have an uphill battle to sway workers away from the UAW which he says, the automaker has already indicated it will recognize.
We'll keep you posted on new union organization efforts.
By Calvin Sneed