UAW withdraws objection to the result of VW plant election

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 23, 2014

The United Auto Workers union is withdrawing its objection to the result of the February election it lost among workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. The UAW had claimed undue outside political interference for its loss. UAW President Bob King said in a statement that the process of objecting to the National Labor Relations Board could take months if not years.

Volkswagen said in a statement that it welcomes UAW’s decision to withdraw the objection, saying that it provides an important gesture for “a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga."

The NLRB indicated it would accept the UAW's withdrawal, according to lawyer and UAW opponent Maury Nicely, who said the move clears the way for the board to certify the election.

Mike Burton, a Volkswagen worker and vocal UAW opponent, told Reuters by phone that he was able to declare victory once again, first on February 14. He said that the clock can begin on the year that the UAW has to stay away from VW’s site, referring to an NLRB provision that bars any union activity in a site for a year after the vote has been certified.

The UAW had considered Volkswagen as its brightest hope of boosting its membership -- which has dropped in the last several decades – since the German carmaker has agreed not to oppose the union and even provided it access to workers on site.

Its failure at VW’s Chattanooga site continues its dry spell in recruiting workers at assembly plants owned by foreign carmakers in the US South. The February election, however, saw workers vote 712-626 against UAW representation.

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