Volkswagen said Tuesday morning that they will appeal the National Labor Relations Board’s decision to allow a vote to determine if maintenance workers at the plant want to be represented by the United Auto Workers union.
“The decision to appeal is based on Volkswagen Chattanooga’s consistent position that the Chattanooga workforce is one integrated team,” according to a statement from the company.
The election for the company’s 160 maintenance employees, also called skilled team members, is scheduled for this Thursday and Friday. Click here for background.
The company’s statement also said that VW leaders respect their employees’ rights to decide about union representation, but they want any union election to include all hourly team members-both production and maintenance.
But the UAW is calling on the company to drop the appeal, which won’t impact this week’s election.
And Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the international union’s Transnational Department, said that not only is the company fighting against the workers’ federally guaranteed rights, it’s also ignoring a deal made between VW and the UAW in spring 2014.
“The company did not honor that commitment, and as a result, employees have grown increasingly impatient and have decided to exercise their rights under the law,” Casteel said in a prepared statement.
UAW officials have released documents they said show consensus among Volkswagen leaders that the best route to establishing a works council in Chattanooga is through their union.
But VW officials have not publicly said they had an agreement with the UAW. According to Nooga.com archives, VW officials don’t comment directly on the issue. They have only said that they are working with both the American Council of Employees and the UAW under the company’s engagement policy.
The policy sets guidelines for engagement opportunities between the company and any labor organization whose membership includes a significant percentage of Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga.
Casteel also said that VW’s “one team concept” doesn’t jibe with leaders recognizing ACE, which Casteel called an “anti-labor organization” that wants to undermine employee representation at VW.
ACE has said in the past that what they offer differs from the UAW in that it doesn’t aim to provide exclusive representation. ACE wants to be as inclusive as possible, officials said recently.
The appeal process is expected to proceed after the election is completed, VW officials said.
In February 2014, Volkswagen employees voted against UAW representation after a contentious period leading up to the vote.