Five years later, union moves to organize VW's Tennessee car plant again

April 12, 2019

Workers at Volkswagen's car factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will vote on whether to organize and join the United Auto Workers Union on April 29 and April 30.

When the UAW made a push to organize the plant's eligible assembly line workers in 2014, the effort narrowly failed 712-626. The UAW did manage to organize skilled trade laborers after they voted in favor of organizing in 2015. 

This time, The Commercial Appeal reported Tuesday, the UAW feels that a changed national political climate in Washington, D.C., and at the Tennessee state capitol in Nashville may give it the support it needs. 

READ THIS: UAW Drops Fight For Re-Vote At Volkswagen's Tennessee Plant

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the Detroit-based union, said the Chattanooga workers made the decision to call for the vote. A group of workers have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a vote to unionize on April 29 and 30 where 1,700 workers will decide the future. U

President of UAW Local 42 Steve Cochran said the vote will be about "respect and consistency," not greater pay. The UAW alleges that VW managers make it difficult for workers to plan lives outside of work by taking hourly work away on short notice.

Local 42 represents VW Chattanooga's skilled trade laborers.

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The UAW also wants a seat at the table to bring more work to the Tennessee plant as the automaker transitions toward electrified cars at the plant. Right now, the plant builds the Passat sedan and Atlas full-size crossover.

A total of 3,500 workers are employed at the plant, though the facility has excess assembly line capacity and could build more cars. 

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