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Volkswagen to Appeal NLRB Ruling on Tennessee Union Election

The National Labor Relations Board earlier this month rejected Volkswagen’s appeal of a December election in which maintenance workers at the Chattanooga plant voted 108-44 for representation by the United Auto Workers union.

Volkswagen AG (IW 1000/7) said it plans a court appeal of a U.S. labor board’s decision that allowed a union representation election for a portion of the workforce at the automaker’s Tennessee factory.

The National Labor Relations Board earlier this month rejected Volkswagen’s appeal of a December election in which maintenance workers at the Chattanooga plant voted 108-44 for representation by the United Auto Workers union, saying those employees are “readily identifiable as a group.” The company has contended that any union-represented unit at the plant should include both maintenance and production workers.

“We are disappointed that the NLRB declined to fully evaluate this important question,” Volkswagen spokesman Scott Wilson said Monday in an e-mail. “Therefore, Volkswagen will take the necessary steps to have this issue reviewed by a federal court of appeal.”

A local union at the Tennessee factory could add to Volkswagen’s challenges as it faces fallout from its emissions-cheating scandal, priced at about $18.2 billion in costs. The Detroit-based UAW is engaged in a long-term effort to represent all hourly workers at the plant. The union lost a representation election in 2014 that included all the hourly employees.

UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said in an e-mail that the union wouldn’t immediately comment on Volkswagen’s plan for a court appeal. Reuters reported on the company’s decision earlier Monday.

“Volkswagen respects the right of all of our employees to decide the question of union representation,” said Wilson, the company spokesman. “This is why we disagree with the decision to separate Volkswagen maintenance and production workers and will continue our effort to allow everyone to vote as one group on the matter of union representation.”

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