Hourly workers at Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee will hold an election on Feb. 12-14 to determine if the United Auto Workers union could represent its workers. The National Labor Relations Board scheduled the election after the carmaker and the UAW reached an agreement.
"Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils," UAW President Bob King said in a statement.
He said that the UAW is seeking to partner with Volkswagen Group of America and a works council to set a new standard in the US “for innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community." VW emphasized its neutrality in a statement, saying that the vote is by secret ballot.
"Volkswagen Group of America and the UAW have agreed to this common path for the election," Frank Fischer, chief executive of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said in the statement. He said that this means that the site’s employees can decide on representation in a secret ballot election, which is independently conducted by the NLRB.
He noted that Volkswagen is committed to neutrality and calls on all third parties to “honor the principle of neutrality." The UAW is also attempting to represent workers at Nissan sites in Mississippi and Tennessee and at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama.
"A vote at Volkswagen, whatever the outcome, will send reverberations throughout the Southern auto industry," Dennis Cuneo, a managing partner of pro-management law firm Fisher & Phillips, commented to Reuters.