UAW appeals against results of election at VW Chattanooga

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 27, 2014

The United Auto Workers has filed an appeal the United States government requesting it to reject the results of a recent election where workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee voted not to join the union. UAW cited what it called "interference by politicians and outside special interest groups," and said that the U.S. National Labor Relations Board would probe into the election and determine if there are grounds to reject the results and hold a new one.

Labor lawyers and academics, however, quipped that the UAW would find it difficult to make a case for setting aside the election, saying that labor law does not limit what politicians can say during a union election campaign, as long as they are telling their own views and not doing the bidding of management.

They noted that the law strictly limits the statements by management and the union itself. In a statement, the union said its appeal details "a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign conducted by politicians and outside organizations to deprive Volkswagen workers of their federally protected right to join a union."

The election result at VW’s site was considered a huge blow to the UAW, which has been unable to organize workers at foreign-owned vehicle factories in the American South. During the final days of the campaign, conservative Republicans spoke out against the UAW, among them is US Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), former mayor of Chattanooga.

According to the UAW, its appeal dubs Corker's conduct "shameful and undertaken with utter disregard for the rights of the citizens of Tennessee and surrounding states that work at Volkswagen."

Last week, President Barack Obama accused politicians in Chattanooga of being "more concerned about German shareholders than American workers," a Democratic aide who heard his remarks during a closed meeting with lawmakers told Reuters.

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