UPDATE: NLRB rules against UAW petition in split decision
UPDATE: The war of words between Volkswagen Chattanooga workers and the United Auto Workers Union continues to escalate.
In a split decision, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled in favor of Volkswagen in a setback for unionization efforts at its Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant.
United Auto Workers won representation of maintenance workers there in 2015 but Volkswagen has never bargained with the union. Instead, the company challenged union certification, arguing the bargaining unit needed to include all hourly workers.
After years of back-and-forth, the union in April asked the NLRB to allow a vote for a new bargaining unit, this time including all hourly workers.
Wednesday, the group known as Southern Momentum, released a statement heralding that the National Labor Relations Board decided against a petition from the United Auto Workers to hold an election at the Volkswagen's Chattanooga facility.
Southern Momentum's release said:
“Today, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the UAW played improper legal games in filing its petition to represent production and maintenance workers, despite the fact that there was already a certification of the maintenance workers in place,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who represented Southern Momentum in 2014. “The union knew what it was doing was legally wrong, but they did it anyway. When they got caught in their legal games, they tried to reverse course, while continuing to blame the company for their own wrongdoing.”
“Now the NLRB has ruled that Volkswagen was right all along, and the UAW was wrong,” added Nicely. “The UAW repeatedly accused Volkswagen of delay, but the NLRB ruled that ‘any delay is solely due to [the union’s] having filed its petition during the certification year.’ Workers should not put their faith in a union that refuses to follow the law, blames others for their own mistakes, repeatedly attacks an employer who has meant so much to this community, and has a track record of failure and divisiveness.”
“This is yet further proof that the UAW is dishonest, does not care about us and is only interested in lining its own pockets,” said Tony Walker, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “The UAW needs to stop playing games with our future.”
The UAW responded in kind with their own statement on the dispute:
"In an unprecedented move caused by Volkswagen’s legal games, the NLRB this morning issued a split decision and dismissed Chattanooga workers petition for a vote, but allowed it to be refiled.
This decision allows Chattanooga workers to quickly file another petition but creates yet another delay in the process. Volkswagen has continued to use legal games to aggressively deny its workers the right to vote for years. It's ridiculous and shows how broken the rights of workers are under our labor laws. But we will be on the NLRB's doorstep immediately to file again and demand a speedy election.
VW should be ashamed of this legal obstruction that led to this. It's sad how Volkswagens’ strategy of using high-priced legal games can stand in the way the right to vote for Chattanooga workers. Chattanooga workers deserve to know from VW, how much money have you spent on these lawyers to try to stop us from having a voice?"
The NLRB's decision can be read below:
PREVIOUS STORY: Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga have filed an action that could clear the way for another union vote.
The move comes after the National Labor Relations Board put on hold a potential new union election at Volkswagen's Chattanooga production plant last week.
On April 9, workers filed a petition for all VW hourly employees to vote on bargaining rights.
A vote date has not been set.
PREVIOUS STORY: The anti-union group Southern Momentum issued a statement on Thursday, accusing the United Auto Workers (UAW) union of spreading "fake news" in its effort to organize the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant.
“The UAW continues to peddle ‘fake news’ inside our plant, but the facts speak for themselves,” said Bryan Dyke, a team member at Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We are working hard to educate our colleagues about the damage it would cause if we invite such a corrupt, Detroit-based union into our workplace, and we have been encouraged by the response we have received so far.”
“The UAW was wrong for Volkswagen Chattanooga in 2014 and it is wrong for it today,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga-based lawyer for Evans Harrison Hackett PLC, who represented Southern Momentum in 2014.
Southern Momentum was created in 2014 before Volkswagen employees held a vote on whether or not to join the UAW.
Southern Momentum says the the UAW lost that vote 712 - 626.
READ MORE | UAW vote certified at Volkswagen Chattanooga
In April of 2019, VW employees filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for another election to join the UAW.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: A petition was filed Tuesday morning by Chattanooga Volkswagen workers with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for an election to join the UAW.
The workers encompassed by the petition are all production and maintenance workers in Chattanooga.
They say they are tired of not having the right to bargain like other VW employees worldwide.
The workers are asking for the opportunity to vote this Spring.
We'll continue to follow this developing story.