VW labor chief vows continued support for the UAW

Article by Christian A., on June 6, 2014

The United Auto Workers must and will "start anew" in its bid to represent workers at Volkswagen Group's Chattanooga site in the United States, remarked Frank Patta, VW Global Group Works Council general-secretary.

During the recent UAW Constitutional Convention, Patta claimed that the UAW election at the site was "stolen" due to outside political forces. 

"We have lost one battle, not the fight," Patta said in German via a live video hookup using a translator. UAW’s loss in the representation election makes the Chattanooga site one of the few VW plants around the world that does not have a works council.

Works councils are comprised of labor representatives recognized by the company management to advocate for worker rights and provide advice to management. According to Patta, unions co-determine governance at 100 VW site globally and represent over 600,000 workers. He noted that even VW’s sites in China and Russia have works councils.

Patta vowed that VW labor representatives would still support the UAW in the organizing drive in at VW’s Chattanooga site and other plants having union representatives. The UAW also is trying to organize workers at Nissan and Kia’s plants in the South.

According to Patta, his group worked closely with the union in the VW Chattanooga election drive. He claimed that political conservatives and other anti-union groups spent over $2 million on the eve of the election to give rise to a view that workers may lose their jobs if they voted for the UAW. The union lost the election, 626 vs 712. [source: automotive news europe - sub. required]

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