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Phil Cited on Volkswagen's Challenge to

whtc-logoThe Auto Workers are leading a charge to allow unions to organize small groups of workers within companies. Volkswagen has bore the brunt of this very controversial strategy.

WHTC in Michigan reached out to Phil for comment. Click here to dive in.

Whistlin’ Dixie

Remember when the Auto Workers Local 42 organized 164 skilled workers at Volkswagen in December? Remember before that when they lost the bigger election at Volkswagen Chattanooga 626 to 712? And then, even though it’s “illegal” to pursue another election at the same location for a year, how they set up an office just down the road and started to pursue a “works council” type of representation?

You have to give it to Local 42 – they are persistent. That’s how they pulled off something that no union has done before in the US and changed the organizing game.

But Volkswagen is upset about it and filed a request to review the December election. The NLRB rejected the request. Volkswagen will now appeal that decision.

When In Trouble, Ask For A Raise

bernd-osterloh

Bernd Osterloh

Despite Volkswagen’s lagging profit margins and potential $46 billion dollar fine for its U.S. emissions scandal, union leaders at IG Metall (Germany’s largest union) are asking for a 4.5 to 5 percent wage increase in upcoming contract negotiations.

Meanwhile, in an effort to protect their brand’s reputation, Volkswagen has pledged to move its profit margin from 3 percent to 6 percent by 2017. Both VW leaders and Bernd Osterloh, IG Metall union chief, agree that the only way that pledge becomes a reality is by eliminating jobs.

All this begs the question: With VW jobs already at stake, why would the union think now is the opportune time to increase the cost of labor?

Phil on UAW Win at Volkswagen Chattanooga

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In a Times Free Press article, published yesterday, Phil addresses the question: “What does the UAW vote mean for VW and auto manufacturing across the country?”

His response addresses the fact that UAW’s fight is not over. The determining factor in whether or not this win is a success comes in the contract negotiations – and the pressure is on. If they can’t land a deal that gives autoworkers pay and benefits that are significantly better than what they currently enjoy, it will be hard to convince other VW workers to join.

UAW Strife In The South

The Auto Workers’ attempt to organize German-owned facilities in the South has proved mostly futile, but the union is not backing down. In fact, they are pushing so hard that even pro-union employees at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama are getting tired of the campaign. However, with Daimler AG’s plan to bring a new line of automobiles to the Vance plant, it doesn’t look like any employees – for or against the union – will be getting a break anytime soon. This, even though UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel has admitted that the union would lose an election if one was held right now.

Back in Chattanooga, the UAW has encountered new opposition in its attempt to organize the Volkswagen plant. The American Council of Employees expect to have signed up “at least 15 percent, and perhaps as many as 30 percent, of the workforce as members by

Continue reading UAW Strife In The South

Whistlin’ Dixie

Last month, Volkswagen revealed their new labor policy for the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The policy is called Community Organization Engagement. It “allows any union that can prove it represents at least 15% of the carmaker’s workers the ability to meet with management on a regular basis and represent workers.” The policy lays out three levels of representation:

At 15%, unions can use the company’s meeting rooms, post literature and meet monthly with Volkswagen management. At 30%, unions can also meet quarterly with a member of the Volkswagen Chattanooga executive committee. At 45%, a union can also meet every other week with Volkswagen’s management and executive committee.

After setting up a local office practically next door to the plant in an effort to garner membership, the Auto Workers announced last week that an outside accounting firm verified that the union represents 45% of the workforce.

The American Council of Employees

Continue reading Whistlin’ Dixie

Changes In Labor Law To Come?

ACEThe Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga provides an interesting case study as competing interests attempt to figure out how to get what they want. The UAW continues to attempt to organize employees at the plant, despite its “commitment” otherwise after their election defeat earlier this year. The anti-UAW employees, in order to combat the continuing UAW activity, organized into a group called the American Council of Employees (ACE). Mike Burton, interim secretary of the group, believes they’ll be the exclusive representatives of VW plant employees within a few months.

Management of the Volkswagen plant has been under pressure by its German parent company to adopt a works council type structure similar to that used in Germany, even though such an arrangement is not lawful under the National Labor Relations Act (as ACE points out

Continue reading Changes In Labor Law To Come?

UAW Appeal Puts VW Decision on Hold

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s comment that the Chattanooga factory would get a new VW model if UAW was rejected is still hot on the minds of UAW officials who believe Corker’s primary motive was to intimidate workers (ironic).

Corker responded in the Wall Street Journal with the following statement: “The National Labor Relations Board will have to decide whether to follow years of precedent and let the vote of the workers stand – or whether it will try to muzzle elected officials and prevent them from weighing in on issues of critical importance to the communities they represent.”

The appeal hearing is currently set for April 7, but could be pushed back to the 21st.

Volkswagen has resolved to hold off on making a decision as to whether or not they will bring their new SUV to the Chattanooga plant until after the case has been settled.

Volkswagen v. Auto Workers Round 2

The United Auto Workers (UAW) are simply not letting up in their effort to organize the Chattanooga, Tennessee VW plant. After losing the February election with a vote count of 712-626, the UAW filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requesting a re-vote because “politicians and outside groups compromised the process” during the original election. Sure they did…

The usual process in an election challenge grants the union and company both an opportunity to present their case to the NLRB; however, in the high-profile UAW/VW case, the Board is allowing another important party to have a voice in the deliberation: the anti-union workers. We’ll see if this is just a bit of NLRB grandstanding or not.

The date of the hearing is still undetermined.

UAW Starts Card Drive on VW in Chattanooga

A Chattanooga news outlet has reported that since early March UAW organizers have been at the gates and holding meetings to gather signed authorization cards from Volkswagen workers. One VW employee told a reporter he was gathering signatures in the plant during breaks. It is also rumored that UAW organizers have been meeting with small groups of shop floor activists for several months.

Last summer UAW President Bob King traveled to Germany to coordinate support from IG Metall, the union for German Volkswagen workers setting off the first serious speculations about Volkswagen as the UAW’s first (and perhaps only plausible) target to come out of over a year of UAW staff on the ground throughout the south poking around for

Continue reading UAW Starts Card Drive on VW in Chattanooga