The fight over unionization at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant is growing more intense as the decision approaches.
A new organization fighting the union effort has appeared on the scene and it's accusing the company of tilting the vote in favor of the union.
That non-profit group is calling itself Southern Momentum. It includes VW employees who don't think the UAW is a good fit for Volkswagen or Chattanooga.
Spokesman Maury Nicely says VW managers are giving open access to union representatives, and blocking non-union opinions.
All around Chattanooga, you'll find billboard with messages about the United Auto Workers Union destroying the city of Detroit.
They've been put up by groups like Southern Momentum -- groups pushing for a no vote on the union question facing VW's employees next week.
"We don't believe legally that you can have a German-style works council here in the United States, I believe there are other alternatives to ensure that workers voices are fully heard," says attorney Maury Nicely.
Southern Momentum spokesman Maury Nicely says VW management seems to favor a YES vote by employees. How? For one thing, by suppressing the opinions of some workers.
"And then we came to find out that the supervisors at Volkswagen they can't express their opinions about it, and when meetings were held, the UAW didn't allow employees to ask questions," says attorney Nicely.
For another thing, by keeping out organizations that opposes unions.
"Our group tried to access to the facility before in Volkswagen to present competing viewpoints to that being presented by a UAW at the location and that was denied," says attorney Nicely.
So Southern Momentum is holding its own meetings, away from the plant, and inviting VW employees and family members.
"In order to provide them with additional information and allow them to ask questions about this situation, the process, and the implications of this process," says attorney Nicely.
We tried to ask VW management whether it is true that the company is backing the pro-union position and we were told they were not going to comment until after the elections.
Volkswagen Workers will vote beginning on Wednesday and it runs through Friday.
Before then, Southern Momentum plans to hold its own meeting, off the V-W property, for VW employees and families.
That meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 10amn at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Lifestyle Way off of Shallowford Road in Chattanooga.
By Jerry Askin
A newly-formed group, organized by Volkswagen employees against unionizing the Chattanooga plant, is accusing the UAW and Volkswagen management of inappropriate tactics.
The group called Southern Momentum issued a news release Thursday morning announcing an informational meeting for employees, and alleging inappropriate actions by UAW members inside the plant.
NewsChannel 9 is following up on the story. This is the release, as provided by Southern Momentum:Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 6, 2014âSouthern Momentum, a non-profit group organized by Chattanooga VW Team Members announced today that they are holding an informational meeting for any interested VW Team Members and their families on Saturday.
The meeting will take place on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the ballroom at the Embassy Suites, Hamilton Place, 2321 Lifestyle Way, Chattanooga, TN 37421
âWe are very concerned that there has been no opportunity at the plant for VW Team Members questions in a public forum to the UAW about one of the most important decisions that we will ever make as VW Team Members,â said Travis Finnell, a VW Team Member in VWâs Maintenance department. "We are assembling some experts on these issues that will make themselves available for questions on Saturday morning."
Despite VW managementâs assurances that it would not happen, UAW organizers donning black shirts have been granted full access to the plant, even interrupting Team Members out on the production floor, to persuade employees to vote for the UAW.
Earlier this week, management required and paid every VW Team Member to attend captive-audience meetings, which were then turned over to a UAW spokesman dispatched from Detroit. While Team Members were permitted to leave when the UAW spokeâand many didâthose that stayed were denied the chance to ask questions by the UAW.
âThe UAW refused to take questions, or allow opposing viewpoints,â Finnell stated. âBecause this issue affects all of us as Team Members, as well as our families and the community, we should have the right to get real answers to real questions. So far, the UAW has been misleading a lot of people. This is why we will have legal experts there to share U.S. labor law and our legal rights and to answer Team Members and their familiesâ questions.â
Saturdayâs meeting is scheduled for one hour, but may run longer due to the question and answer period.
All attendees must show ID at the door and, with the exception of invited guests, be VW Team Members or their family members.