US: UAW files NLRB appeal after Chattanooga union 'no' vote
America's UAW union has filed an appeal with the the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) relating to what it claims is "interference by politicians" in the recent election for Volkswagen Chattanooga workers to be represented by the body.
The UAW narrowly lost the vote to represent Tennessee workers, by 712 votes to 626, with the union insisting there was a "firestorm of interference" in its bid to have a Works Council established.
The labour body objects to what it says is a "widely-publicised coercive campaign conducted by politicians" to deprive Volkswagen workers of their right to join a union.
"It's an outrage politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that would grow jobs in Tennessee," said UAW president, Bob King.
"It is extraordinary interference in the private decision of workers to have a US Senator, a Governor and leaders of the State legislature threaten the company with the denial of economic incentives and workers with a loss of product.
"We're committed to standing with the Volkswagen workers to ensure their right to have a fair vote without coercion and interference is protected."
Senator Bob Corker (R), who as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001-2005 worked to develop the Enterprise South Industrial Park, currently housing Volkswagen's North America headquarters, said after the result he was "thrilled" for the employees.
Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and chairman, Frank Fischer, maintained his employees had not made a decision they are against a Works Council, noting during the process there was "great enthusiasm" for such a body.
Corker has come back fighting however, following the UAW's decision to file its objection with the NLRB, noting: "The workers at Chattanooga Volkswagen plant spoke very clearly, so we are disappointed the UAW is ignoring their decision and has filed this objection.
"Unfortunately, I have to assume [this] may slow down Volkswagen's final discussions on the new SUV line.
"This complaint affirms the point many of us have been making: that the UAW is only interested in its own survival and not the interests of the great employees at Chattanooga's Volkswagen facility nor the company for which they work."
German union, IG Metall, which has backed a Chattanooga Works Council, was not immediately available for comment.