Bernd Osterloh, head of the Volkswagen AG’s global works council, will hold a dialogue with workers at the carmaker’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee over the possibility of having the United Auto Workers union represent them, sources told Reuters. Volkswagen has said it is holding talks with the UAW to set up a works council at the Chattanooga site since under US labor laws, such council should be recognized through a US trade union.
A success by UAW in representing VW workers may possibly pave the way for organizing foreign-owned automakers in the South. According to the sources, although there was no mention of the UAW taking part in the dialogue, Volkswagen and IG Metall representatives will attend.
One of the Reuters’ sources said that Horst Neumann, head of VW human resources and a member of the carmaker's board of management, would be in Chattanooga.
The UAW has disclosed that a majority of the 1,567 production and maintenance workers at the Chattanooga site have signed authorization cards endorsing the union to represent them in what it dubs as an innovative model that includes a German-styled works council.
The councils include both workers and executives who collaborate on several issues, but they generally do not discuss wages or benefits. Gary Casteel, regional director for the UAW in the Southeast, recently disclosed that more workers at the Chattanooga site are signing authorization cards