Daily Labor Report®

UAW Steps Away From Volkswagen Union Ahead of New Vote (1)

April 15, 2019, 9:09 PM; Updated: April 15, 2019, 10:19 PM

The United Auto Workers said it is disclaiming a unit of maintenance workers that it organized at Volkswagen‘s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant in 2015.

The move comes as the union prepares for a potential factorywide representation vote at the facility. The UAW announced last week that it would attempt another union election at the plant after a 2014 vote resulted in a narrow loss for UAW’s unionization efforts.

Following the 2014 loss, the UAW won a vote in 2015 to represent a smaller group of about 160 VW maintenance workers. The union, however, was unable to engage the company in bargaining on behalf of the maintenance workers despite being recognized as the employees’ bargaining agent.

UAW Local 42 President Steve Cochran said in a statement that the move is “clearing the way for a speedy election.”

“Volkswagen said they have opposed bargaining because they want to bargain with all maintenance and production workers and that is what we have done,” Cochran said. “Chattanooga workers deserve to have the same rights as every VW worker in the world. So we are breaking the legal stalemate. Let Chattanooga workers vote.”

Representatives for Volkswagen AG were not immediately available for comment.

NLRB Hearing Approaches

The union and VW will gather for a National Labor Relations Board hearing on April 17 where the immediate fate of the UAW’s new organizing campaign will be decided. The hearing could set a date for the representation election.

Multiple unfair labor practice charges filed by the union against VW remain pending. The union accuses the company of breaking federal law by refusing to bargain with the maintenance workers. The unsettled NLRB charges threatened to hold up when an election could be scheduled.

By disclaiming representation of the maintenance workers, the UAW is also rendering moot any pending unfair labor practices it has filed regarding that contingent of employees.

The UAW will be pushing for an election to start as soon as April 29.

The Chattanooga facility is VW’s only nonunionized plant.

(Updated with additional context. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Wallender in Washington at awallender@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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