Employees of the local Volkswagen plant filed today a federal lawsuit that seeks to block further “collusion” between the company and the United Auto Workers, should the National Labor Relations Board order a new unionization election at the plant.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, with free legal assistance provided by the National Right to Work Foundation.
Last month, VW employees at the Chattanooga plant voted against union representation in a 712-626 vote.
After the loss, UAW Union officials filed objections with the NLRB to overturn the election results. Then, five VW employees, represented by National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, moved to intervene in the UAW’s challenge of election results. Earlier this week, the NLRB said the VW employees opposing the UAW would get a voice in the election appeal, a decision the UAW said they will appeal.
According to a prepared statement:
The suit contends that the neutrality arrangement between VW and UAW Union organizers contain numerous such prohibited provisions, including mandatory pro-union meetings, use of company property by outside UAW organizers, and clauses preventing VW and its managers from opposing unionization, all of which were implemented in the lead-up to the vote that UAW lost 712-626.
In exchange for that valuable organizing assistance, the UAW promised the company that, once workers were unionized, UAW officials would delegate many of the union’s duties to a German-style works council, limit bargaining demands to ensure company “cost advantages,” and not go on strike. Further, the UAW promised not to make negative comments about VW or to conduct organizing activity for one year if the union lost the election.
“UAW union officials and Volkswagen management have colluded to deprive these workers of a fair vote from the start,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Enough is enough, which is why these workers are seeking to prevent further VW assistance to the UAW’s organizing efforts.”
UAW President Bob King issued the following statement:
The lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation is baseless. At the time it negotiated its election agreement with Volkswagen Group of America, the UAW had already established for the company that it was the majority representative of hourly Volkswagen employees, on the lawful basis of authorization cards signed by a majority of such employees. Moreover, even if the UAW had not demonstrated this status, the UAW’s election agreement with Volkswagen Group of America would still be lawful, just like many other neutrality agreements the UAW and other unions have negotiated with employers throughout the United States.
The National Right to Work Legal Foundation has a history of frivolous lawsuits trying to stop workers from joining the UAW, including failed lawsuits at Dana and Freightliner.
A copy of the lawsuit is embedded below.