VW workers sign petition against UAW at Chattanooga plant
Volkswagen employees hope to put the legal brakes on the UAWs effort to unionize the Chattanooga plant. Monday, a small group of workers filed federal charges. They claim the United Auto Workers coerced, even threatened, employees into signing union authorization cards.
Workers gathered outside the VW plant Monday night to sign a petition against UAW. By signing the petition, it revokes any card that an employee signed, who does not want representation from UAW. The group is also encouraging anyone, whether they signed a card or not, to sign the petition as well. A signature also counts towards the future. If Volkswagen allows UAW to move in, the petition says the employees want an official vote on representation.
Federal charges were filed with the National Labor Relations Board by eight VW workers. They claim the UAW "solicited, enticed and/or demanded" that VW employees sign authorization cards, to be represented by the United Auto Workers.
"If I worked next to somebody that wanted the union, and I didn't, and they hounded me all day, every day, 'Sign this card. Sign this card.' I would give in. I mean, who wouldn't?" says Travis Finnell.
Finnell has been a satisfied employee at VW for two and half years. He never signed a card.
"Let's just do a ballot vote. That's the honest way of doing it," he says.
UAW officials will no longer return Channel 3's emails and calls. But UAW president Bob King has previously stated, "An election process is more divisive. I don't think that's in Volkswagen's best interests. I don't think that's in the best interests of Tennessee."
"How is having a card check, and people pressuring you at work and the UAW saying all sorts of outlandish things, how is that not divisive?" asks Finnell.
In a past interview with Channel 3, pro-union workers said not a single employee was coerced into signing the cards and that it is clearly stated on the card what it means. They also said pay and working conditions were not the reason for wanting a union, it is better communication.
"Communication, mainly. A lot of communication between management and employees on how we can better make the company move forward here in the U.S. and how we can better productivity within the plant," says VW employee John Wright, who is in favor of UAW.
"I think they're desperate," says Finnell.
Finnell says VW already has an 'open-door policy' between workers and management. He says UAW is in it for the money.
"They've lost 200,000 members in the last 15 years, 10 years? That's got to hurt their pocket, you know," says Finnell.
He says a vote would calm the storm.
"Not everything is bad about the UAW. But not everything they're saying is the truth. There's not more money. There's not better benefits. There's not better communications," says Finnell.
UAW Region 8 director, Gary Casteel, told the press last year that the cards were just for "gauging the level of support at the plant."
The group workers passing out the petition will be outside of the VW plant for the rest of the week and all next week collecting signatures. They are urging co-workers to visit their website, www.no2uaw.com for more info.