Employees at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga will have the opportunity to vote in a secret ballot election on union representation. In consultation with the United Auto Workers (UAW), Volkswagen Group of America filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to request that it conduct a representation election. The NLRB has scheduled the election for Feb. 12-14.
The UAW is willing to set up a Works Council if the majority of employees vote in favor of union representation. Such a model builds on the positive experience in Germany and at other Volkswagen Group locations. It provides for establishing a Works Council with specific rights and responsibilities similar to the German “Betriebsrat”.
Under the Works Council model, a Works Council represents employees on a wide range of internal matters at the plant, while their union represents the employees on matters relating to terms and conditions such as working hours, compensation and benefits. The detailed distribution of rights and responsibilities would remain to be negotiated following the vote if the UAW is certified.
“Volkswagen Group of America and the UAW have agreed to this common path for the election,” said Frank Fischer, chairman and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “That means employees can decide on representation in a secret ballot election, independently conducted by the NLRB. Volkswagen is committed to neutrality and calls upon all third parties to honor the principle of neutrality,” Mr. Fischer said.
Sebastian Patta, vice president for Human Resources at Volkswagen Chattanooga, said, “Employees have the right to decide, by voting in a secret ballot election, on a matter that concerns their own interests. Volkswagen respects this democratic right at all locations worldwide."