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Chattanooga Volkswagen plant expansion hinges on acceptance of panel, German labor official says

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -

A top global official for Volkswagen's works council says the group will block the automaker's expansion in Chattanooga unless a similar labor panel is put into place at the factory.

A German newspaper reported that VW Group deputy council chief Stephan Wolf said, "We will only agree to an extension of the site or any other model contract when it is clear how to proceed with the employees' representatives in the United States."

Wolf's remarks, reported by the daily Handelsblatt, were made at a recent event at VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, marking production of the 30 millionth Golf.

Of more than 60 VW factories worldwide, the Chattanooga plant is the only one without a works council, which represents employees on such issues as pay, benefits and working conditions. But according to U.S. labor law, the local plant's workforce would need to OK union representation before the works council could be set up.

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