UAW lodges appeal over loss in Tenn. vote
The United Auto Workers union appealed to the National Labor Relations Board on Friday, contesting the failed unionization vote at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, saying several conservative politicians mounted a coercive campaign to dissuade workers from approving the union.
In the days leading up to last week's election, several lawmakers from Tennessee suggested that subsidies for Volkswagen might evaporate if the plant was unionized. They also said production of a new vehicle could be pushed to Mexico instead of Tennessee.
“The state officials' threats were a constant presence in the minds of voters in the period immediately before and during the election, and were a blatant attempt to create an atmosphere of fear of harm to employees, their jobs and the viability of their employer and cause employees to vote against UAW representation out of fear,” UAW said in an appeal filed with the NLRB.
The union called for a new election free from interference by politicians and special-interest groups.
The attorney working with an anti-union campaign at the plant told the Los Angeles Times that he expects the appeal to be denied.
“When you look at the law on third-party interference, the law sets a very high bar,” Maury Nicely said. “This doesn't meet the standard.”
The narrow defeat in Chattanooga was an embarrassing setback for the UAW, which had hoped to establish a union at a Southern foreign-owned factory for the first time and deliver confidence to its Motor City members. It remains the only major Volkswagen factory in the world without a union, and the company's union in Germany has expressed frustration about that.
Nicely noted that the NLRB last month rejected a complaint filed by anti-union forces over what they perceived as pro-union statements made by Volkswagen and its German union, IG Metall.
“That set a pretty good precedent, if you ask me,” Nicely said.
Labor law experts said they had little doubt that voters were affected by the comments.
“Having a works council is in the workers' best interest and voting no for a union was not necessarily a good thing,” Art Wheaton, an automotive industry expert at Cornell University's Worker Institute, wrote in an email to The Times. “They were likely influenced by false and misleading statements.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coal’s upside? Things can’t get much worse after a dire 2015
- 2,000 more layoffs at U.S. Steel debated
- UAW threatens strike at Fiat Chrysler
- Finding balance key to PNC Capital Markets chief’s success
- ATI expects quarterly loss of $142M
- European court spikes data deal
- Advanced safety features on more and more vehicles can baffle drivers
- IMF predicts global economic growth will shrink
- Patriot Coal expects to lay off more than 2,000 workers in W.Va.
- Eat’n Park sells Cura division that serves hospitals and senior living
- Rally in energy shares fails to lift market as biotech freefall continues