Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Union busters mounting assault in Chattanooga as Volkswagen workers prepare for UAW vote

Stay tuned as Labor South follows the huge battle unfolding  in Chattanooga with the Feb. 12-14 vote by Volkswagen plant workers on whether to join the United Auto Workers.

It's a very important election that could lead to the unionization of the first foreign-owned auto plant in the U.S. South. The UAW also has campaigns underway at the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., and the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala.

Anti-union forces are mounting a huge effort against the UAW, backed by the deep financial pockets of hard-right outside groups that know a vote to unionize could open the door to a significant change in the South, the least-unionized region in the country.

It's interesting to note that powerful Southern politicians in Tennessee are joining the outside interest groups opposed to unionization even though Volkswagen itself is remaining neutral. They're scared to death a pro-union vote could shift a power structure that has been in place in the South since the Civil War. Out the window goes the old anti-union argument against "third parties" getting between the workers and management!

If Volkswagen workers vote union, that sets the stage for the establishment of a first-ever, German-style works council in the South and nation, giving workers and their union a voice at the table--albeit in a new configuration--on wages, benefits and other plant issues.

This is potentially a pivotal moment in Southern labor history.

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