The United Auto Workers union has filed labor charges against Volkswagen for refusing to bargain a contract for a small group of unionized workers at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The UAW organized 161 skilled-trades workers at the plant earlier this month after a previous attempt to organize the full workforce of about 1,450 last year was unsuccessful.
The UAW has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the union’s transnational department, said the labor relations board has determined the skilled-trades employees constitute a legal collective bargaining unit.
“Volkswagen’s skilled-trades employees voted overwhelmingly to designate UAW Local 42 as their representative for the purposes of entering into collective bargaining,” Casteel said in a statement, referring to the Dec. 4 vote.
“Following this month’s election, we were hopeful that the company would accept the results and recommit to the principles of social responsibility that made Volkswagen a respected global brand,” Casteel said. “Instead, Volkswagen has refused to come to the bargaining table in violation of federal law. By refusing to engage in collective bargaining after a successful election, Volkswagen is not only doing a disservice to its employees but now is thumbing its nose at the federal government as well.”
Organizing the skilled-trades workers was seen as a high-profile victory and the first clear-cut win at an automotive assembly plant in the South.
VW tried to stop the election because it did not want only a portion of its workforce covered by a union contract.