Three VW employees file suit against VW and UAW
Three Volkswagen employees are filing suit in Federal Court against Volkswagen and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW ("UAW").
Michael Burton, Michael Jarvis and David Reed are attempting to keep Volkswagen from illegally providing "thing(s) of value" to the UAW in assist the union with organizing them and
The three men allege that Volkswagen and UAW entered into an agreement called the "Organizing Assistance". Through this agreement VW provided the UAW with the following items:
Captive audience meetings: Volkswagen agreed to conduct meetings for all employees on paid work time and on company property, at which Volkswagen would inform Employees that it supports the formation of a "Works Council" and at which the UAW could solicit employees to support the union.
Use of Property: Volkswagen agreed to give UAW organizers use of its private property for organizing activities, including use of a particular office and other areas in the Chattanooga Plant.
Non-Compete Clauses: Volkswagen agreed "not [to] take a position opposed to. . . [union] representation," Organizing Agreement, § 5(b), to not to issue communications opposing the UAW, id., §§ 5(b) & (e), to train it supervisors and managers not to express opposition to the UAW, id., § 5(f), and to "not make any negative comments (written or verbal) against the UAW," id., § 9. In addition, Volkswagen and the UAW agreed to "advise one another of their planned communications activities and . . . [to] seek, as appropriate, to align messages and communications through the time of election and the certification of the results by the NLRB." Id., § 3(f).
In addition Volkswagen agreed to work in conjunction with the UAW to petition the National Labor Relations Board for an expedited election on February 12-14, 2014.
On the part of the UAW, the plaintiffs allege that for the VW's commitment, the union agreed to:
Works Council: Upon becoming the Employees' exclusive representative, the UAW agreed to delegate many of its duties and functions as a representative to a "Works Council." Works Council members are to be selected by Volkswagen employees, including employees not represented by the UAW, and trained and funded by Volkswagen.
Cost Advantage over Other Automakers: The UAW agreed that "negotiations for an initial bargaining agreement and any future agreements shall be guided by the following considerations . . . maintaining and where possible enhancing the cost advantages and other competitive advantages that [Volkswagen] enjoys relative to its competitors in the United States and North America, including but
not limited to legacy automobile manufacturers."
No Strike: The UAW agreed that "if the UAW is certified as the representative of the Hourly Unit, while the parties negotiate for an initial collective bargaining agreement, (a) the UAW will not engage in picketing, strikes, boycotts, or work slowdowns."
Limits on Organizing Activities: The UAW agreed to not visit Employees at their homes, to not make "negative comments" about the company, and to not conduct organizing or other activities in connection with the Chattanooga Plant or any other Volkswagen facility for one year if the union loses the election.
Burton, Jarvis and Reed contend that Volkswagen and the UAW both violated sections of the Labor Management Relations Act through the "Organization Assistance" agreement.