UPDATE: UAW withdraws appeal of Volkswagen union vote - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: UAW withdraws appeal of Volkswagen union vote

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UPDATE: Volkswagen Chattanooga responded to the UAW news this morning as well, with a statement issued by VW spokesman Scott Wilson, saying:

“We welcome the decision by the UAW. It provides an important gesture for a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga. It is now time for all concerned to shape the future of the Chattanooga location. Important tasks lie ahead of us: To build excellent cars for the American market in Chattanooga, to create good, secure jobs in Tennessee, and to set up a new, innovative form of co-determination in the USA.

Volkswagen Chattanooga is seeking to establish good opportunities for consultation and representation for all its employees, opportunities that are normal practice for the Volkswagen team all over the world - that applies for those employees who voted against the UAW, just as it applies for those who voted in favor.”

The United Auto Workers announced Monday that the union is withdrawing their objections filed with the National Labor Relations Board in February's vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen workers rejected representation by the United Auto Workers by a 712 - 626 vote in February.

Monday's action by the UAW effectively terminates the NLRB review process; a hearing was scheduled for 9:00am Wednesday morning at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

The UAW says it will instead focus on a congressional investigation into an anti-unionization campaign by Republican politicians and outside groups.
 
UAW President Bob King said in a news release that the decision was made in the best interests of Volkswagen employees, the automaker, and economic development in Chattanooga. King said the UAW based its decision on the belief that the NLRB’s historically dysfunctional and complex process potentially could drag on for months or even years.

The UAW cited refusals by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker to appear at the hearing as well.
 
“The unprecedented political interference by Gov. Haslam, Sen. Corker and others was a distraction for Volkswagen employees and a detour from achieving Tennessee’s economic priorities,” King said. “The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga.”

A news release from U.S. Senator Bob Corker, who is on a trip in Moldova, was “This 11th hour reversal by the UAW affirms what we have said all along -- that their objection was nothing more than a sideshow to draw attention away from their stinging loss in Chattanooga.”

"It's a shame the UAW slowed the momentum on our expansion conversations with Volkswagen, but now it's time for VW, our state and our community to re-engage and move forward with bringing additional jobs to Chattanooga," added Corker.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, who is the senior Republican on the Senate labor committee said Monday 
“The employees have made their decision. The UAW lost the election. Now the best thing for all concerned is to get back to building cars.”

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke weighed in Monday afternoon, with his staff emailing a news release: "Over the last year I have worked hard to bring a second automobile line to Chattanooga. Even after the State withdrew its incentives package, I let Volkswagen know the City of Chattanooga is committed to expanding production here and that our incentives were still available.

Today, I call upon Governor Haslam to immediately put the State’s prior incentives offer back on the table to bring the SUV jobs to Southeast Tennessee. The first line created over 12,000 jobs in our area. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and watch this opportunity go elsewhere,” Berke said.

King said the UAW has accomplished a major goal with its election objections. “The UAW’s objections informed the public about the unprecedented interference by anti-labor politicians and third parties who want to prevent workers from exercising their democratic right to choose union representation,” he said.
 
King also said that outdated federal laws governing the NLRB never contemplated the level of extreme intimidation and interference that occurred in Chattanooga. Even if the NLRB ordered a new election — the board’s only available remedy under current law — nothing would stop politicians and anti-union organizations from again interfering.

Documents also show Tennessee tied a $300 million incentive package to the satisfactory outcome of the labor situation at the plant.
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