Anti-union workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site can defend the results of a mid-February union election that resulted to a UAW lost, The National Labor Relations Board said. The ruling provides anti-UAW groups – like the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum -- more leverage in their battle over unionizing the Chattanooga plant.
The ruling allows anti-UAW workers to participate and make their case, along with the UAW, during NLRB hearings over the dispute. The UAW has been trying to expand into non-union, foreign-owned auto assembly plants in the South, but has met opposition from senior Tennessee politicians like U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam as well as from outside interest groups.
The election at VW Chattanooga saw UAW losing, with workers voting 712-626 not to join the union. The UAW has asked the NLRB to dismiss the results of the election, claiming that outside parties influenced the process. While the carmaker stayed technically neutral during the UAW campaign, it provided the union access to its site on the days leading up to the election – an unusual move as employers typically oppose union campaigns.
VW has said it would not defend election results before the board. Handling the union’s challenge is NLRB's regional office in Atlanta, which is now probing whether outside groups interfered in the election process.
The findings of the office can be appealed to the five-member NLRB board in Washington. The determination of the case could take a couple of months or longer, former NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein told Reuters said in an interview. [source: Reuters]