UAW joins forces with German labor groups to organize in Chattanooga
The United Automobile Workers (UAW) union has joined forces with two German labor organizations in the most recent push to unionize Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The two groups are Volkswagen’s own global networks council and the Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall), the largest independent metalworkers union in Germany.
“This is an alignment between the three institutions and to my knowledge there has never been an agreement such as this,” said UAW Secretary Treasurer Gary Casteel. “It gives us the support of one of the main foundations of the VW system and that is the Works Council.”
According to a four-page letter of intent that was signed by officials from all three organizations, the new partnership was made with the goal of obtaining “exclusive majority status and recognition of this by Volkswagen.” This strategy has been interpreted as a response to a move by anti-union groups at the facility which recently announced plans to form their own union in an effort to prevent the UAW from gaining a majority at the facility.
National Right to Work Vice President Patrick Semmens termed the document “a lot of double talk” and said: “At this point, there should be no doubt that the real source of outside interference in Chattanooga is from Detroit and Europe. The workers spoke clearly in a secret ballot vote last year and that decision should not be overturned because of a backroom deal negotiated in Germany or Detroit.”
Read more about the story at Reuters.