Report: UAW, VW closer to agreement at Chattanooga plant

September 4, 2013

Report: UAW, VW closer to agreement at Chattanooga plant

Staff reports

German automaker Volkswagen could be closing in on an agreement with the United Auto Workers on the formation of an employee works council at the company’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, http://www.handelsblatt.com/unternehmen/industrie/mitbestimmung-vw-werk-in-chattanooga-soll-betriebsrat-bekommen/8726164.html” alt=”” title=”” target=”_blank”>according to German newspaper Handlesblatt.

If successful, it would mark a major victory for organized labor at a foreign-owned auto plant in the South. The UAW has tried unsuccessfully to form unions at the Nissan plants in Smyrna and Canton, Miss., among others.

The VW plant in Chattanooga is one of the few for the company that does not have an employee works council. Under the German model, a works council gives workers more say on business issues and employee concerns. Workers are also given representation on the company’s supervisory board.

However, it’s unclear whether the model would be changed for a plant based in the United States.

The Handelsblatt business daily reported that UAW President Bob King and five other officials were at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, to meet with the employee relations chief.

The newspaper cites “trustworthy circles” in saying that they discussed a German-style works council.

The UAW has been trying to organize the factory’s roughly 3,000 workers. King has said organizing plants of foreign-based automakers is crucial to the union’s survival.

VW spokesman Tony Cervone says VW is looking at ways to give workers a voice in plant operations. He says a decision on union representation would be up to the workers.

Messages were left Tuesday for a UAW spokeswoman.

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