Four Chattanooga Volkswagen AG workers filed a federal charge on Wednesday against the company alleging that statements by German VW officials are illegally coercing fellow workers into representation by the United Auto Workers union.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the workers filed the charge with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Atlanta.
The charge comes after senior VW management in Germany stated, according to recent media reports, that for any expanded production to be considered in Chattanooga, the plant must adopt a works council that would force workers to accept the representation of UAW union officials.
The workers point out in their charge that Volkswagen’s threat that failure to accept the union would risk losing potential for job growth “interfere[s] with Chattanooga facility employees’ rights to choose whether or not to engage in self-organization to form, join, or assist labor organizations.”
“With reports that Volkswagen is considering Chattanooga to build its new SUV, this is no idle threat,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “If VW management was discouraging workers from joining the UAW with threats, there’s little question that an NLRB prosecution would have already begun at the UAW’s behest.”
Three of the four VW workers are part of a group of eight VW employees that also filed charges last month alleging improprieties in the UAW union hierarchy’s “card check” process, including getting workers to sign union authorization cards by coercion and misrepresentation and using union cards signed too long ago to be legally valid.