TN Worker Complaint: VW Forcing Unionization With Threats

The UAW has been trying to organize at Volkswagen Chattanooga almost since the day it opened. The UAW says it has a majority of the 1,800 hourly workers who have signed union cards. The union hopes VW will recognize the cards as a binding vote instead of requiring a secret ballot. Credit: VW

The UAW has been trying to organize at Volkswagen Chattanooga almost since the day it opened. The UAW says it has a majority of the 1,800 hourly workers who have signed union cards. The union hopes VW will recognize the cards as a binding vote instead of requiring a secret ballot. Credit: VW

Four workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga have filed another formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. They argue the company is coercing employees into approving the United Auto Workers as their bargaining agent.

Volkswagen’s top labor official, Bernd Osterloh, sits on the panel that chooses where new vehicles are built. And he has said publicly that Chattanooga would need to organize in order to compete for a new SUV that VW hopes to build in the U.S., requiring 800 new workers.

Matt Patterson leads the anti-union Center for Worker Freedom at the Americans for Tax Reform and says it sounds like a threat to him.

“This has been sort of an implied threat or a fear – let’s say a fear – I think of Chattanoogans all summer long, that if they did resist the UAW, they wouldn’t get those jobs.”

For three of the four workers who signed onto this complaint, it’s their second grievance filed with the NLRB. The first alleged that the UAW bribed employees to sign their union cards. However, the union cards specifically say that anyone is welcome to revoke them at any time.

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