Some VW employees demand secret vote on unionization issue

Authored By chloe.morrison

Soon after a United Auto Workers leader said that a majority of Volkswagen employees signed cards in support of union representation, an anti-UAW website has popped up; and representatives of a right-to-work foundation said they are fielding complaints from VW employees who said they were promised a secret vote. 

“Despite their promises, UAW Union officials are now trying to deny workers a secret ballot election to determine whether to unionize. Instead, they are pressuring Volkswagen to recognize them as the workers’ monopoly bargaining representative,” Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a prepared statement. 

The website, No2UAW, has a photo of the plant and an open letter to Gary Casteel, regional director for the UAW. 

The letter is signed “The Informed Team Members at Volkswagen Chattanooga,” and there is a list of 11 reasons why those behind the website are demanding a secret vote on the unionization issue. 

The website also has a frequently asked questions section that answers questions such as “Can an employee get their signed union authorization card back?”

Reuters reported this week that UAW representatives want Volkswagen AG leaders to recognize the union after the recent card check.

Volkswagen AG officials have an interest in working with the UAW because they want the local plant to be part of the corporate organization’s works council, but U.S. law prohibits that from working here the way it does in other countries. 

UAW President Bob King told Reuters that VW AG leaders should approve the card check and eliminate the need for a formal, divisive vote. 

On Friday, a local Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment about whether leaders would go along with the card check or seek a private election. 

But various people, such as Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce President Ron Harr, have said that a secret vote is the only way to move forward fairly.

Harr also said that the UAW’s presence at Volkswagen will harm the area’s economic growth. Click here to read more about the chamber’s response. 

The cards collected by the UAW must be verified by the National Labor Relations Board, and if the board approves 51 percent, UAW leaders have said they have enough to petition for approval to officially represent the VW workers. 

The UAW needs cards from at least 30 percent of the workers to force an election, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

According to a news release from the National Right to Work Foundation, UAW officials are pushing Volkswagen AG leaders to forgo the secret ballot.

But many question how fair that process is. 

It’s possible that some of the cards were signed by temporary employees or that workers were misled about what they were signing. 

The foundation’s leaders said that they have received calls from workers who expected to get a secret vote, also according to the news release. 

Mix also said in the release that any worker who thinks they were misled, pressured or coerced into signing the card should contact the foundation at 1-800-336-3600.

“It is not too late for workers to protect their legal rights,” Mix said.

Casteel couldn’t be reached Friday.