Volkswagen America president addresses unionization as VW AG leaders meet with UAW reps

Authored By chloe.morrison

President of Volkswagen America Jonathan Browning addressed the possibility of unionization at the local plant Wednesday morning, saying that company leaders are looking for an “innovative solution” to the situation in which employees can have a strong voice locally and globally. 

“We’ve been very clear that the process has to run its course,” he said when asked about negotiations between VW and United Auto Workers leaders. “No decision has been made. It may or may not conclude with third-party representation.”

And he repeated what Volkswagen leaders have constantly said-the final decision is up to employees. 

For more than a year, leaders with the United Auto Workers Union have been eyeing Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant, and they are having discussions about the possibility of creating a German-style labor board.

Efforts to unionize Volkswagen of Chattanooga have recently ramped up, but forces of opposition are also organizing. 

Reuters reported Tuesday that United Auto Workers President Bob King met with Volkswagen AG and German labor leaders last week to discuss moving forward with worker representation at the local plant. 

The outlet also reported that the local company’s employees could be briefed as soon as this week about a vote on the issue and about the UAW’s willingness to back the vote. 

Bill Visnic, senior analyst with online automotive shopping and research outlet Edmunds.com, agreed that-especially in the past 10 years-the issue of unionization has developed a political dimension, according to Nooga.com archives. 

And political leaders have also weighed in. This summer, David Smith, spokesman for Gov. Bill Haslam, said that one of the things that makes Tennessee great is that it is a right-to-work state.

Click here and here for more background on the issue. 

Click here to read the recent Reuters article on the situation.