Monday, February 3 2014, 01:26 PM EST
Volkswagen Chattanooga Employees Will Vote "Yay" or "Nay" on Union Representation
Employees at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga will have the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot election on union representation, according to a news release from Volkswagen Chattanooga. In consultation with the United Auto Workers (UAW), Volkswagen Group of America filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to request that it conduct a representation election. The NLRB has scheduled the election for Feb. 12-14, 2014
The UAW is willing to set up a Works Council if the majority of employees vote in favor of union representation. Such a model builds on the positive experience in Germany and at other Volkswagen Group locations. It provides for establishing a Works Council with specific rights and responsibilities similar to the German “Betriebsrat”.
Under the Works Council model, a Works Council represents employees on a wide range of internal matters at the plant, while their union represents the employees on matters relating to terms and conditions such as working hours, compensation and benefits. The detailed distribution of rights and responsibilities would remain to be negotiated following the vote if the UAW is certified.
“Volkswagen Group of America and the UAW have agreed to this common path for the election,” said Frank Fischer, chairman and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “That means employees can decide on representation in a secret ballot election, independently conducted by the NLRB. Volkswagen is committed to neutrality and calls upon all third parties to honor the principle of neutrality,” Fischer said.
Sebastian Patta, Vice President for Human Resources at Volkswagen Chattanooga, said: “Employees have the right to decide, by voting in a secret ballot election, on a matter that concerns their own interests,” said Sebastian Patta, Vice President of Human Resources at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Volkswagen respects this democratic right at all locations worldwide,” Patta said.
“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” said UAW President Bob King in a news release sent. “The UAW seeks to partner with VWGOA and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”
In the same news release sent from the UAW, Jonathan Walden, Volkswagen paint technician, said, “With a local works council, workers would have a voice they can use to make Volkswagen stronger; in safety, job security and efficiency. Global representation means Chattanooga workers may have a strong voice in seeking new products and bringing more jobs to Tennessee.”