Volkswagen Workers Vote To Unionize

Volkswagen of America’s Chattanooga, Tennessee workers voted in favor of union representation on Friday. 

The vote was administered through a secret ballot vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, which still must certify the results. 

A total of 3,613 votes were cast, which is 83.5% of employees who were eligible to vote, and 73% voted yes on representation by the United Auto Workers while 27% voted against joining the union. 

“Both sides have five business days to file objections to the election, the NLRB said,” according to The Associated Press. “If there are none, the election will be certified and VW and the union must begin bargaining in good faith.”



The plant is set to become the first unionized auto factory in the South not owned by one of Detroit’s Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis, which produces Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Chrysler vehicles. 

“The outcome is a breakthrough for the labor movement in a region where anti-union sentiment has been strong for decades,” according toThe New York Times. “And it comes six months after the UAW won record wage gains and improved benefits in negotiations with the Detroit automakers.”

The effort was successful despite efforts by the state’s Republicans to doom the effort.

“The UAW has eyed the Chattanooga facility for over a decade, and the union narrowly lost a pair of previous elections in 2014 and 2019, the latter of which was decided by about 60 votes,” per Poltico. “The Germany-based car manufacturer throughout each of the organizing drives has officially remained neutral, though the UAW in 2019 contended that VW repeatedly violated that principle and those tensions lingered into this week’s vote. The UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges against VW, accusing it of illegal anti-union tactics, which the company denies.”

The win in Tennessee is expected to provide momentum to UAW President Shawn Fain's $40 million campaign to expand the union outside Detroit to the U.S. South and West, focusing on 13 non-union auto companies, including Toyota  and Tesla.

“Fain, a scrappy leader who reveled in last year's fight with Detroit companies that won double-digit raises and cost-of-living adjustments, told a party of VW workers that the union would carry the fight on to Mercedes,” according to Reuters.  “The Mercedes plant vote, scheduled for mid-May, is expected to be a tougher fight than at VW, which took a neutral position in the vote.”

The organizing effort caps off a strong year for the U.S. labor movement.

“The Teamsters scored big wins for UPS employees, while Hollywood actors and writers, and Kaiser nurses secured better wages and working conditions by staging walkouts,” according toThe Washington Post

1 comment about "Volkswagen Workers Vote To Unionize".
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  1. John Antil from University of Delaware, April 23, 2024 at 12:37 p.m.

    This is the end of car companies building new plants in this country. Say goodbye to many thousands of well paid jobs. The unions ruined all the US manufacturers so why not ruin what is left of the other plants.  The quality will go down and VW who is already having problems will have even more that will affect all their customers and dealers......VW has now lost control over running its own factories, cannot even promote the best workers, have the entire line shut down because the screwdriver guy is not there....the work rules are ridiculous but no one ever talks about those, only how much money they make and also not many want to talk about their pensions and health care....most Americans would all love to have the same plans.  The list could go on but not going to make any difference.  VW should just shut down this plant and move to Mexico.

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