Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Industryweek 9862 120715vwworkersunionizeseangallup

VW Workers Unionize in Tennessee

Dec. 7, 2015
The Chattanooga location is the only Volkswagen plant in the world without representation on the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, though that could change soon.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Employees at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee decided to organize for the first time since foreign automakers set up shop in the business-friendly South, which is known for its low rate of unionization.

The UAW won a breakthrough representation election Friday at the Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga. Skilled tradeworkers voted to join UAW, cracking the wall of non-union assembly plants belonging to foreign carmakers in the region.

The National Labor Relations Board, which supervised the process, said 71% of employees voted to join during the two-day election, which began Thursday.

“A key objective for our local union always has been moving toward collective bargaining for the purpose of reaching a multi-year contract between Volkswagen and employees in Chattanooga,” UAW Local 42 president Mike Cantrell said in a statement.

UAW has failed to attract workers in the southeastern United States, losing elections at Nissan in Tennessee in 1989 and 2001, and at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga in February 2014. Cantrell said that the timing of the skilled trades’ election is unrelated to the emissions scandal rocking the company. 

After years of pressure from anti-union groups and conservative political figures, less than 10% of U.S. workers in the private sector are now covered by labor contracts.

Because of its non-union status, the Chattanooga plant is the only Volkswagen plant in the world without representation on the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council.

Labor leaders urged Volkswagen to drop its plans to appeal the outcome of the election.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Digitally Transforming Data and Processes With Product Lifecycle Management

Oct. 29, 2023
Manufacturers face increasing challenges in product development as they strive to consistently deliver improved results. Discover how industry leaders are improving time-to-market...

How Manufacturers Can Optimize Operations with Weather Intelligence

Nov. 2, 2023
The bad news? Severe weather has emerged as one of the biggest threats to continuity and safety in manufacturing. The good news? The intelligence solutions that build weather ...

Gain a competitive edge with real-world lessons on private 5G networks

Nov. 16, 2023
The use of private networks in manufacturing applications is rapidly growing. In this paper, we present valuable insights and lessons learned from the field with the goal of enhancing...

Why DataOps may be the key to unlocking the full potential of digital transformation

Nov. 3, 2023
Read the 2023 market survey conducted by IndustryWeek

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!