UPDATE: Elected officials, employees react to Volkswagen vote against UAW representation
Chattanooga Volkswagen workers rejected representation by the United Auto Workers.
Preliminary results show 776 employees voted to be represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) and 833 employees voted against UAW representation.
During the secret ballot election, conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), 93 percent of the eligible employees voted. A total of 1,609 votes were cast during the three-day voting period from June 12-14.
In response to the vote, the UAW says it has called on Congress to take a comprehensive look at the country’s labor laws and NLRB rules that made it almost impossible for Volkswagen workers to form a union.
“VW workers endured a system where even when they voted, the company refused to bargain,” said Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the UAW. “Clearly Volkswagen was able to delay bargaining with maintenance and ultimately this vote among all production and maintenance workers through legal games until they could undermine the vote.”
“On behalf of Volkswagen, I want to thank all of our Chattanooga production and maintenance employees for their participation in this week's vote on the question of union representation,” said Frank Fischer, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, in an email send to the Channel 3 newsroom.
Fischer added the following:
“Our employees have spoken. Pending certification of the results by the NLRB and a legal review of the election, Volkswagen will respect the decision of the majority. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with elected officials and business leaders in Tennessee. We chose Chattanooga to build our American production facility for a number of reasons, but in particular because of the quality of the workforce, the commitment of the business community, and the support and investments by state and local governments. As we have said throughout this process, our commitment to Tennessee is a long-term investment and central to the success of VW America. We look forward to working with the State of Tennessee, Hamilton County and the City of Chattanooga to support job creation, growth, and economic development today and into the future.”
Tennessee Senator Bo Watson was one of the first elected officials to react on Twitter to the election results saying, "Let’s be honest- we got a good thing going on in Tennessee. No need to screw it up. Great decision by the majority of
@VW workers. Union should respect the decision and move on."
Representative Robin Smith from Chattanooga also commented.
Southern Momentum, a grassroots group of Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga that opposed the UAW, released the following statement on Saturday:
“We could not be more excited about the outcome of the election,” the workers said. “We are happy for our families, for Volkswagen Chattanooga, and for our community. What started as just a handful of us grew into a force of hardworking employees determined to better educate voters about the decision before them. And now all of us have spoken. We are grateful for those in the community who rallied behind our efforts and thankful to our fellow workers who joined us along the way. We will continue to advocate for the best interests of our families and for the future of Volkswagen Chattanooga and look forward to getting back to what we do best: working as one team to build quality cars.”
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