The UAW has established Local 42, with the new organisation representing any interested employees who joined as members with no staff compulsorily required to belong to the association

The UAW has established Local 42, with the new organisation representing any interested employees who joined as members with no staff compulsorily required to belong to the association

America's UAW labour body says it will look to engage with politicians hostile to union membership in Tennessee and move to bi-weekly meetings with Volkswagen in its Chattanooga site, following the establishment of majority labour body membership at the Tennessee plant.

The union was thwarted earlier this year in its attempts to form traditional labour representation, losing a vote at the Chattanooga factory by 44 votes, with the Detroit-based body referring to "tremendous pressure from outside" following the election.

Despite that loss, the UAW established Local 42, with the new organisation representing any interested employees who joined as members with no staff being required to belong to the association.

News of Local 42's membership now exceeding an - unspecified - majority but thought to be more than 50% will now see "additional conversations" with Volkswagen as a potential precursor to a Works Council style organisation with the union holding an olive branch to those opposed to a formal labour body.

"I hope we have the opportunity to sit down [with] those who have opposed us in the past and have an open dialogue," UAW secretary-treasurer, Gary Casteel, told just-auto from Detroit.

"There has never been a situation like this in the US and Tennessee should lead on this. This is an opportunity for the State and politicians to step forward and show progression.

"It is an open invitation from us to them to sit down and see how it can work."

The UAW claims Volkswagen has verified Local 42's "substantial membership level," adding it will "remind human resources" of mutual commitments it claims mean the UAW will be recognised as the representative of its members.

"Additionally, the local union will present the Chattanooga plant management with the September letter of intent in which the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council expressed its desire for the Chattanooga plant to be a ‘UAW-represented facility," said Casteel.

"With this in mind, we will be working toward the process of collective bargaining with the company."
 
"Looking ahead, a cornerstone of Volkswagen's business model is employee representation and participation in the Global Group Works Council. Until now, Chattanooga has been the only plant not represented on the Global Group Works Council. Chattanooga finally takes part in the Volkswagen philosophy and culture."

Volkswagen in Chattanooga was not immediately available for comment.