New VW new policy sets guidelines for organized labor at Chattanooga

Article by Andrew Christian, on November 14, 2014

Volkswagen has set up a “Community Organization Engagement” policy that sets guidelines for dealings with labor groups accounting for a “significant percentage of Volkswagen Chattanooga employees.” This should allow labor groups to hold meetings at the carmaker’s Chattanooga and engage with plant executives.

The policy new comes after the United Auto Union created earlier this year a local chapter for employees at the site, which union leaders said has the support of majority the plant’s 1,500-strong workforce.

According to a summary of the policy as provided by the carmaker, the UAW’s name was not mentioned and labor groups cannot use it to claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent.

The policy grants eligible labor groups three levels of access and dialogue with management, based on the number of workers they represent. According to Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, the union intended to hold a meeting with VW officials to remind them of the commitments agreed both the carmaker and the UAW last spring.

The commitments include VW’s recognition of the UAW as the representative of the local's members. Casteel said that the UAW also plans to help the carmaker verify "the local's substantial membership level,” which he says has topped majority of the plant’s workers.

He said that the union would send a letter to plant management requesting that the site be a “UAW-represented facility,” which is vital to establishing collective bargaining rights. Casteel said the UAW believes VW will honor its commitment. The UAW lost an election at the site in February this year at vote of 712-626.

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