After losing union vote, UAW calls for new labor laws
After an 833 to 776 vote this week, Volkswagen Chattanooga workers rejected representation from the UAW. But UAW spokesperson Brian Rothenberg is hopeful for the union’s future in the city.
“The sun comes up in the morning,” he said. “There are unions in the south. There will always be unions in the south. And there is a proud labor history in the south."
In the wake of the vote, the UAW is calling on Congress to review U.S. labor laws and NLRB rules, which they say made it impossible for workers in Chattanooga to unionize. Rothenberg says current laws don't do enough to protect American workers.
“You really have to questions whether the laws in this country make it too hard for workers and too easy for corporations to pay high priced lawyers to play a bunch of legal games.” Rothenberg said.
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann disagrees. He tells Channel 3 he doesn’t see any room for improvement in the current laws.
"The labor laws in this country are more than sufficient to protect workers, they have been,” Fleischmann said. “It has to be a two-way street. Management and workers have to work together. In a great right to work state like Tennessee, they have been."
Rothenberg says after one of the closest votes he's seen, there’s still a future for a union in Chattanooga. But he says workers must drive the decision.
“A swing of 29 votes, just 29 votes, and we would be sitting here talking about having a union,” he said. “So in that respect, we'll have to see what happens over the course of the year and next year."