05/21/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/21/2019 16:38
WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI), Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Sherrod Brown (OH) are expressing concerns and requesting more information from Volkswagen (VW) following the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) recent decision to grant Volkswagen's request to halt all election proceedings for workers petitioning to organize with the United Auto Workers (UAW) at a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In their letter to VW CEO Scott Keogh, the Senators urge VW to ensure any election is free and fair, and they ask a number of questions regarding the current situation.
'We are writing to express our deep concern with delays to an election on union representation for maintenance and production workers at Volkswagen's manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee,' the Senators wrote. 'Workers have a fundamental right to choose whether they have union representation in the workplace. Any delay in the election further enables anti-union campaigns to target and intimidate workers and violate that fundamental right, and we urge you to immediately drop any efforts to oppose or postpone the election of a union in the Chattanooga plant.'
This decision follows ongoing efforts to organize at the Chattanooga plant including an attempt made in December 2015 with 160 skilled trade maintenance workers who voted to unionize and affiliate with the UAW. Following the vote, VW refused to bargain with the UAW, stating the unit needed to include both skilled trade maintenance workers and production workers. This led the UAW to file a charge to the NLRB on Volkswagen's refusal to bargain. Last April, the UAW withdrew the pending charges with the NLRB, clearing the way for workers to file a new petition to involve both skilled trade maintenance and production workers. Earlier this month, the NLRB dismissed the refusal to bargain charge against VWand also gave no indication as to when the halt on the union certification will be lifted.
A copy of the Senators' letter may be found below or by clicking here.
CEO and President
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
2200 Ferdinand Porsche Dr.
Herndon, VA 20171
Dear President Keogh:
We are writing to express our deep concern with delays to an election on union representation for maintenance and production workers at Volkswagen's manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Workers have a fundamental right to choose whether they have union representation in the workplace. Any delay in the election further enables anti-union campaigns to target and intimidate workers and violate that fundamental right, and we urge you to immediately drop any efforts to oppose or postpone the election of a union in the Chattanooga plant.
Volkswagen has stated that it is neutral on whether or not its Chattanooga workers are represented by a union, but your company's actions suggest otherwise. Your company has filed a stay of all election procedures for an indefinite period of time, which the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) granted on May 3, 2019. In addition, we have heard that facility supervisors in Chattanooga are engaging in direct anti-union conversations with workers in the workplace, including pulling workers off the production line to ask if they support the union. We've also heard that your company is remedying workers' grievances through steps such as increasing bonuses and changing work schedules. These are not neutral actions.
Your company opposed the maintenance workers' 2015 request for a union election because in your view the only appropriate collective bargaining unit for the plant was a wall-to-wall unit of all production and maintenance workers. Now that the United Auto Workers (UAW) has filed a petition to hold an election for the wall-to-wall production and maintenance unit, your company's concerns on that matter have been addressed. An election victory for the UAW would ensure the Chattanooga facility has wall-to-wall union representation, just like Volkswagen's employees at all of its other facilities around the world.
To better understand Volkswagen's position on the election of union representation at the Chattanooga plant and to learn more about the company's efforts to ensure any election is free and fair, we request that you respond within 7 days to the following inquiries.