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New VW new policy sets guidelines for organized labor at Chattanooga

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.

Read the entire article New VW new policy sets guidelines for organized labor at Chattanooga

UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

The United Workers Union is hoping that it would be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee within a year. UAW President Dennis Williams told Reuters that he had not set a certain date for the union to represent hourly workers at the site over future talks about wages and benefits.

He said that he hoped the UAW would be recognized to bargaining for the workers by the time contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group starts next summer.

According to Williams, UAW already has a majority of VW’s 1,500 hourly workers at the site as members of its local union, UAW Local 42. However, the union, still have to prove that it has the number to VW to be formally recognized as the workers' bargaining agent. UAW Local 42 has already elected officers who will liaise with VW plant officials about recognition.

Read the entire article UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

Jaguar Land Rover considering a factory located in the United States

We just announced that Jaguar Land Rover will produce the Range Rover Evoque and the new Land Rover Discovery Sport at its Changshu plant in China, but it appears that the British carmaker has even bigger plans in the Asian country. According to the Sunday Times, Jaguar Land Rover is considering building a factory in the United States and it is already in talks with several southern states about financial support.

The new Jaguar Land Rover factory in the US would have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and will enable the company to avoid import taxes. Jaguar Land Rover is currently expanding its global presence and the British carmaker will also build a factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

While Mexico could be another possible location for a new manufacturing site, but it appears that Jaguar Land Rover wants the plant to be located in the south of the US, which is also the place where BMW and Mercedes-Benz build their vehicles.
When asked about the new factory in the US, a spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said that plans regarding such a plant are just pure speculation.

Read the entire article Jaguar Land Rover considering a factory located in the United States

UAW forms Local 42 to represent VW Chattanooga workers

The United Auto Workers is forming a union local – Local 42 -- aimed at representing workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. UAW said that membership in Local 42 will be voluntary, adding that it will not have power to bargain on behalf of all of the site’s workers.

UAW officials said that VW would not formally recognize the union until a majority of the site’s employees joins Local 42. UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement that the union was “gratified to earn the confidence and support” of many Volkswagen workers earlier this year, referring to a close representation election at the site in which it gained 626 ‘Yes’ votes, but failed to overcome 712 ‘No’ vote.

He said UAW is keeping its promise at the time that it would give up on VW’s workers. UAW’s latest move underscores UAW’s seriousness in representing workers at the Chattanooga site, considered at the union’s best chance at organizing a foreign-owned facility in the US South.

Read the entire article UAW forms Local 42 to represent VW Chattanooga workers

The United Auto Workers could still unionize Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga facility in Tennessee car plant even if it failed to win support of workers and has withdrawn its appeal of the vote, labor law experts told Reuters. The union will have to wait a year before it can launch another official secret ballot election at the VW site after its workers voted 712-626 on February 12-14 not to join the UAW.

Labor law experts, however, remarked that instead of waiting for a year for another election, the UAW could organize a smaller, specialized unit of workers, collaborate with VW for a private election, or gain recognition via card check.

While organizing some workers – especially those in the union-friendly body shop -- would be atypical for the UAW, it could bear fruit if the union could prove that most employees in the shop wanted to be represented.

Read the entire article UAW has other options to unionize VW Chattanooga site

The United Auto Workers union suffered a narrow defeat in February over a unionization election at Volkswagen's Chattanooga site. It appealed its loss, saying that anti-union politicians have improperly interfered with the election. But just last week, the UAW retreated from the fight and withdrew its appeal.

The loss might be excruciating for the union, as it had seen Volkswagen as an ideal target for its unionization due to Germany's strong labor movement. However, the loss is not devastating and may be valuable for the UAW. A union statement said that the UAW is ready to put February's “tainted election in the rearview mirror.

It said that the union will instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga. By retreating from the VW election battle, UAW President Bob King could effectively convey the message that union is not just after memberships, but is also looking out for US workers.

Read the entire article VW appeal withdrawal seen as a good tactical move for the UAW

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.

Read the entire article UAW withdraws objection to the result of VW plant election

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."

Read the entire article UAW appeals against results of election at VW Chattanooga

On this Wednesday’s meeting of Volkswagen AG’s supervisory board, a decision will be made on where the North American factory for the Audi brand will be constructed, according to an insider. Audi officials have been saying that this summer is when the board will have to finalize its choice. There were reports earlier this month that VW has already decided to build a plant in Mexico but officials quickly denied it.

According to an Audi spokesman, the supervisory board will decide soon. A report from the German magazine Der Spiegel indicated that Audi had received the support of parent Volkswagen to construct the factory in Mexico for Q5 SUV production starting in 2015.

The magazine, which didn’t cite its sources, said that the supervisory board intends to have the plans ratified during the Wednesday meeting. VW officials have been in discussions on the factors that have to be considered in deciding the location (whether Mexico or the U.S.) Just last year, VW opened a plant in Chattanooga for the VW Passat production.

Read the entire article Vw may build a North American factory for its premium Audi brand

The UAW is working to get signatures of support from the workers at the U.S. factory of Volkswagen AG as part of its escalation efforts to set a foothold outside the Detroit automakers. In early March, the labor group began passing out authorization cards for workers to sign as an early formal step required for union representation, according to workers at the Tennessee factory in Chattanooga.

The plant opened in May 2011. Volkswagen has recently disclosed that it will hire 800 employees at the facility in efforts to increase production of the mid-sized Passat sedan.

According to UAW President Bob King, organizing U.S. factories operated by foreign carmakers -- "transplants" as they are known in the industry -- is vital for the survival of the union. After 30 years of declining memberships, the UAW is facing a financial crisis aggravated by the U.S. economic recession.

Read the entire article UAW seeks to establish foothold in Volkswagen’s Tennessee facility

Volkswagen Group of America will have 800 additional jobs at its Tennessee plant related to efforts to increase production of the mid-sized Passat sedan, bringing the total workforce at the factory to 3,500 by the end of 2012. The additional jobs will also bring the company nearer to its latest target of manufacturing at least 170,000 Passats each year in Chattanooga by 2013.

The Group has not disclosed the quantity of Passat units to manufacture this year or the number of automobiles that the additional staffing can produce. VW brand's sales have risen by at least 36% each month starting in September, when the latest Passat hit showrooms in the United States just months after the launch of production. Through the January-February period this year, VW sales have risen 45% to 57,786 units, one-fourth of which are Passat units.

VW Group of America's CEO Jonathan Browning disclosed that they need more Passat units in order to satisfy the demand of the market. By 2018, the company is targeting to increase U.S. sales of the VW brand to 800,000 units each year in line with efforts to be the No. 1 vehicle manufacturer across the globe.

Read the entire article Volkswagen Group to add 800 employees for Tennessee factory

Two hundred jobs will be created at Volkswagen AG’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., under its plan to increase its production volume for the VW Passat by 13%. From 31 redesigned Passats every hour, the plant intends to produce 35 units hourly. VW asserted that the new jobs will be included in the two shifts at the plants and will represent full-time employment. The facility currently has a staff of 2,000 workers while 500 are employed by Aerotek, its staffing partner.

Volkswagen said that it is looking for people to be placed in production as well as those who would serve as its engineers and supervisors.

The plant, which cost $1 billion to build, is at the center of a plan to increase the yearly sales of the VW brand in the U.S. to 800,000 by the year 2018. Last year, its sales reached 324,402 units, about 26% higher than the 256,830 units sold in 2010. The overall market had a 10% increase.

Read the entire article Vw to create 200 jobs at its Chattanooga plant to cope with the demand

Volvo Car Corp. is considering a project to put up a plant in North America, according to CEO Stefan Jacoby. At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jacoby told reporters that Volvo cars are exposed to the value of the U.S. dollar, and since this is seen as a “weakness,” the automaker is studying a plan to increase its sourcing in North America in order to balance currency movements.

Jacoby clarified that no decision has been made yet but the “utmost solution” would be to create an “industrial footprint” in North America.

Jacoby said that Volvo is expected to decide this year on a plan to construct a second plant in China, specifically in the city of Daqing. Volvo already has other cars in Sweden and Belgium.

Read the entire article Volvo wants to build a plant in North America, CEO says

Chrysler Group LLC will be expanding its Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, adding a second shift and at least 1,100 jobs to the operation that currently manufactures the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty SUVs, according to last Thursday’s report of The Toledo Blade newspaper.

This $365 million investment could be the first of several major expansions to the company’s Toledo operations, including the Jeep Wrangler production at the nearby Toledo North Plant, the Blade said.

The company revealed the plans in documents filed in a city tax application, which will be discussed by the local officials tonight, according to the report. The Blade also stated that the company officially would not confirm the details of the application because a state incentive package has not been finalized.

Read the entire article Chrysler to add at least 1,100 jobs at its Toledo Assembly Complex

Audi AG, the luxury brand of Volkswagen Group, will be building a vehicle assembly factory in North America. It is also studying an additional an additional engine and transmission plant. The company is completing the assembly plant’s details, including the models, capacity and location.

According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler, all decisions will be made within three years. He stated that it is “totally clear” that the company needs new production capacity in the United States, but the question remains as to when it would be.

Citing an insider source at Audi, the Automotive News reported that the company is studying an engine and transmission factory in North America to increase local content. This second facility could be shared with the VW division. Stadler disclosed that the company intends to increase its U.S. sales by 10 to 20 percent this 2011.

Read the entire article Audi to build a vehicle assembly plant in North America

Volkswagen Group will make a decision within the next 12 months if it will expand its new Tennessee factory to produce a second VW model as well as an Audi vehicle, according to CEO Martin Winterkorn.

At the grand opening of this factory, Winterkorn told reporters at the sidelines that no Porsche vehicle will be made in the U.S. Winterkorn said he is positive about VW’s future in the U.S., particularly with the company’s target to sell 1 million VW and Audi units annually by 2018.

He said that the decision on whether to expand the factory will rely on the speed of the recovery of the VW brand. Winterkorn added that VW is preparing to launch three new cars that he believes will be successful.

Read the entire article Vw will decide in the next 12 months if it will expand Chattanooga plant

The new $1-billion factory of Volkswagen AG in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that recently opened promises to increase sales in the United States as demand for vehicle continues to improve after having had its sales drop to a 27-year low in 2009.

In July 2008, which is several months before the crash of the U.S. economy, the company announced that it plans to build the Chattanooga plant, which will produce the Passat midsize sedan. Back then, A spokeswoman for Volkswagen AG said the company is "absolutely not" having any regrets about the timing of the new Chattanooga site. In fact, at the time, the German carmaker is also building assembly facilities in Russia and India.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn has previously stated that he intends to increase the company's annual U.S. sales by 2018 to 1 million units, including Audi.

Read the entire article Volkswagen AG opens Chattanooga plant

The new plant of Volkswagen in Chattanooga is preparing for its official opening on May 24, 2011. Unfortunately, workers had difficulty with the paint finishes of the Passat sedan. In addition, the chrome accents in the door openings, air vents and gear shifts did not have the same level of shine.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn became impatient with the staff in the Chattanooga plant. According to the May 23 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Winterkorn wanted to inspect the components with chrome finishes, which were hung on a wall for his examination.

However, he wanted them arrayed side by side in a Plexiglas case in order to look at the components from above – the same way that customers will see them with the vehicle.

Read the entire article Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant to open its doors tomorrow

Audi will make a decision on whether to establish a U.S. manufacturing plant before the end of 2015, according to Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America Inc. He added that Audi's U.S. sales are predicted to go beyond 150,000 units by the second half of the decade, justifying the need to produce vehicles in the U.S.

In a webcast on Audi's 2010 U.S. performance, de Nysschen said that the company has to first have enough volume so that it can earn the right to set up a manufacturing plant in the U.S.

He explained that there has to be a “critical mass” to justify the investment, says Autonews.

Read the entire article Audi says volume will determine if it will pursue plan to build US plant

Because of a parts shortage, Chrysler Group will shut down its Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario next week starting Monday, according to a company spokeswoman. This plant builds the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, and Volkswagen Routan minivans.

Rick Laporte, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 444, said that the shutdown will affect about 4,400 workers on three shifts aside from the 5,000 workers at feeder plants.

He said that Windsor plant employees are expected to get 65% of their normal pay during the closure; however, the other workers will be relying on unemployment benefits from the Canadian government. Laporte explained the plant’s closure is due to the shortages of several parts or raw materials.

Read the entire article Chrysler shuts down Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario over parts shortage