UAW decides to skip election and form union at VW anyway

posted at 1:01 pm on July 12, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I just returned from another trip to Tennessee where I was able to catch up with a few folks from the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga and see how things were developing. The conversations there had shifted quite a bit from earlier in the year when the vote regarding UAW unionization was raging, and recent reports make it clear that the big auto union isn’t going to be content with licking their wounds from their recent loss. As Ed reported back in April, the UAW had withdrawn their request for a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board, which some saw as a sign that the fight was pretty much over.

But from what I was hearing, union organizers weren’t looking at things that way at all. There was talk of going ahead and forming an “informal” bargaining unit anyway. And now it looks like they are making it officially unofficial.

Five months after the United Auto Workers (UAW) failed in its bid to unionize Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn., manufacturing plant, the union is giving it another go. But this time, they’re not bothering with the traditional election route.

Instead of calling on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to administer an election, the UAW has decided to form a voluntary association called Local 42. At least initially, the group will not collectively bargain on behalf of the plant’s whole workforce, and it will not collect dues. Yet if a majority of the plant’s employees agree to join Local 42, there is a chance that Volkswagen will recognize it as the workers’ exclusive bargaining agent, granting it full union privileges without the need for an election.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with Volkswagen and have arrived at a consensus with the company,” said UAW secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel in a statement. “Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce, we’re confident the company will recognize Local 42 by dealing with it as a members’ union that represents those employees who join the local.”

The phrase “Local 42″ sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie where the aliens move into a local landfill, but the opinion of the UAW secretary-treasurer may be a bit on the overly optimistic side. For their part, VW simply stated that they ”have no contract or other formal agreement with UAW on this matter.” There is also no formal definition of what the UAW means when they say “a meaningful portion” of the workers there. But some of the workers, speaking to the local paper, were a bit more clear.

Mike Burton, a VW worker who opposes the union, said the UAW is wasting its time and money again.

“It’s like buying a car and leaving it at a dealership for a couple of years until you’re able to drive it,” he said, calling the UAW’s action grandstanding and “a show.”…

Mark Cunningham, of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, said the UAW will “no doubt use this camel’s nose under the tent to pressure members to join its ranks.”

“All this comes despite workers having clearly rejected the union at the ballot box in a legally binding election,” he said.

I didn’t get to speak with the VW management directly this month, but it’s not inconceivable that they might strike up some sort of agreement for talks with the new, unofficial organization. All along, VW has taken an attitude of just wanting to get some sort of “works council” in place, such as the ones established in Europe. They have no interest in having a union become an anchor around their necks and drive them into financial ruin, but they do want to establish a mechanism where workers can communicate directly with management, being able to voice concerns – particularly about worker safety and operating conditions – and provide feedback on ways to improve their processes. Of course, if they officially get in bed with the UAW, they’ll probably wind up getting a lot more than they bargained for.


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First!!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Second!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Third!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Fourth!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

If VW management recognizes this illegal “union,” then they deserve all of the headaches and problems it will cause in the future. I just feel bad for the workers caught in this mess.

RoadRunner on July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Fifth!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Ignore it.
Simply ignore it.
Give it no seat at any table and ignore all of its demands.
Give it no room to fester; and it will fester if given any opportunity.

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

If the VW stockholders are stupid enough to not crush this in it’s infancy then they deserve to have their plant stolen from them.

NeoKong on July 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

So they’re using the illegal minors gambit: flood the zone, wear out the opposition and, when they stop looking, take control.

PattyJ on July 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Typical Democrats. If they lose an election, they just pretend that it didn’t happen and go on their merry way. I hope the UAW gets sued big time over this.

joekenha on July 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

First!!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Second!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Third!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Fourth!!

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Really?

joekenha on July 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Ignore it.
Simply ignore it.
Give it no seat at any table and ignore all of its demands.
Give it no room to fester; and it will fester if given any opportunity.

Bubba Redneck on July 12, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Oh…I thought you were talking about the dork who kept typing “First!” etc.

Jaibones on July 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

I see that lawless fascism is not confined to government.

rbj on July 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Just like Pelosi & the congressional dems on Obamacare…we’ll just ‘deem’ it passed. Whether y’all like it or not.

bimmcorp on July 12, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Attempting to avoid the secret ballot.

unclesmrgol on July 12, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Matters well call them The Obama Union, because they function just like him and the DemoRat Party. They do what THEY want NOT WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT. Thus it is NOT about the PEOPLE, It is about POWER.

Any FOOL that votes DemoRat is Un-AMERICAN and just wants a DICTATOR SYSYEM like China and Russia.

Excuse me to others, but F. U.

Nat George on July 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM

The Mafia is determined to have their Cement Shoes Local 42 in Chattanooga regardless…

viking01 on July 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Typical Dem Libs. Rules are for “the little people.” They are above the law, since they are morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us. They really look at themselves as being some sort of demi-gods who should be able to rule over the rest of us, no matter what we think. They are fascists at heart. Their pride is reminiscent of the original sin, thinking they know better than anyone else (including God).

mydh12 on July 12, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Instead of calling on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to administer an election, the UAW has decided to form a voluntary association called Local 42. At least initially, the group will not collectively bargain on behalf of the plant’s whole workforce, and it will not collect dues. Yet if a majority of the plant’s employees agree to join Local 42, there is a chance that Volkswagen will recognize it as the workers’ exclusive bargaining agent, granting it full union privileges without the need for an election.

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

GM was in my family for more than 70 years. I personally have owned them since 1977. I bought my last GM Product in 2005 and it was my VERY LAST, because of what they did to the investors and this country.
THANKS UNIONS ! ! !

Nat George on July 12, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Of course, if they officially get in bed with the UAW, they’ll probably wind up getting a lot more than they bargained for.

This.

Midas on July 12, 2014 at 1:35 PM

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Yeah, but unfortunately, with most unions (and UAW without question) it’s like just letting a little poop in your drinking water. Even a little is too much.

Midas on July 12, 2014 at 1:36 PM

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

It is the “puppy dog” technique. Let them take it home for FREE and play with it, they can never give it back. Lastly the Union can’t operate on a FREE BASIS, so somebody is going to PAY.

BIG BAD IDEA!

Nat George on July 12, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Unions are like dope dealers.

They try to get the naive saps hooked after which they can exploit them freely and at will.

Just look at the NEA. The schools suck and the union could care less.

viking01 on July 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

All along, VW has taken an attitude of just wanting to get some sort of “works council” in place, such as the ones established in Europe. They have no interest in having a union become an anchor around their necks and drive them into financial ruin, but they do want to establish a mechanism where workers can communicate directly with management, being able to voice concerns – particularly about worker safety and operating conditions – and provide feedback on ways to improve their processes. Of course, if they officially get in bed with the UAW, they’ll probably wind up getting a lot more than they bargained for. – Jazz Shaw, from the article.

The last sentence is the most important. I do hope that the management of VW does totally understand this.

SC.Charlie on July 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Its not a union,union

jaywemm on July 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

That there are still so many union organizers running around tells me we don’t have enough prisons.

Adjoran on July 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

If we were smart, we would use their rules against them.

Have someone form our own ‘Local 1′. Optional dues. Pre-printed signs that have anti-union slogans. Marches. Pickets. Donuts. Etc.

faraway on July 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Camel’s nose in the tent.

The UAW obviously doesn’t care about the law or what anyone thinks – and you foolishly expect them to coëxist with “scabs”?

Can you point to anywhere this has worked? Instead, when you have a Right to Work state, the union thugs will slash tires, threaten you on the job every day, destroy your lunch, steal from you, make life miserable for you – and you can’t escape it unless you quit or give in.

Union thugs belong in Hell, not the job site.

Reuben Hick on July 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

“Forty-Two?!? Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

Conservative Mischief on July 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

I’m surprised you all missed it. The UAW are Geniuses.

’42′ is the answer to everything.

trigon on July 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

“Forty-Two?!? Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

Conservative Mischief on July 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Okay, you get +20 points for that reference!

RoadRunner on July 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The first time the “union local” calls a wildcat strike, every striker should be fired. When they file complaints with NLRB, VW should say, “Their ‘union’ was not officially recognized because it was not organized legally under the existing NLRA. Therefore, their walkout was not a legal ‘union’ action, but an illegal act of sabotage intended to intimidate this company.”

RICO action should follow immediately.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 12, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Thugs and goons

John the Libertarian on July 12, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Someone please show VW what happens when you get in bed with these people. Look at establishment Republicans in D.C getting in bed with Democrats to oppose the tea party, they may end up costing themselves money and votes. Take a look at unions and the UNCF, do something the union doesn’t agree with and BINGO they shut down their relationship with you.

Hopefully VW is smart enough not to do this.

bflat879 on July 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Democrats play to win, folks (see Mississippi). I only wish our played to win–at least once.

SouthernGent on July 12, 2014 at 2:24 PM

“They have no interest in having a union become an anchor around their necks and drive them into financial ruin,”

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Cation on July 12, 2014 at 2:26 PM

If the POTUS doesn’t think HE should have to follow laws and rules, why should anyone else? *Consequences*

LilyBart on July 12, 2014 at 2:29 PM

‘Works council.’ ‘Voluntary association.’ ‘Informal bargaining unit.’

Uh, me and my associates were simply gathering to discuss these nice jobs youse have here in Tennessee. It’d be a shame if anything was to happen to anyone who declined our invitation.

locomotivebreath1901 on July 12, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I see that lawless fascism is not confined to government.

rbj on July 12, 2014 at 1:17 PM

It’s the new standard, courtesy of Barack Mussolini Obama.

Tard on July 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Elections count – “we won” – “it’s the law” – only work for one side.
Conservatives have to learn to use the same slogans and mean it.

AesopFan on July 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Leftist Dems never quit, never. They have amazing boomerang traits. VW has to stand strong as do the non-union workers.

You can bet if the union gains a foothold, the first thing they will do is call a strike and the workers will lose everything. I watched unions kill my hometown.

MN J on July 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

I knew there would be a sci-fi buff or two who would pick up on the irony of “42.”

Why, it’s the answer to the Great Question about Life, the Universe, Everything!

Conservative Mischief on July 12, 2014 at 2:59 PM

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

How in any way, shape or form does that sound rational to you?!

What if they “bargain” that you get a $5/hour REDUCTION in pay for 20% of the employees and the rest of you have to toe the line?

Unless you select them to nominate you or have a majority vote to have union representation they’re saying they’re going to negotiate on your behalf anyway because YOU’RE TOO STUPID TO.

You’re going to be represented whether you want it or not and you WILL abide by their decisions.

Skywise on July 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

You can’t tell people who to associate with.

They’re basically forming a lobby group. No one is fooled by what they are lobbying for, either. Same as most lobby groups.

Just pay attention to what politicians get involved with it.

Moesart on July 12, 2014 at 3:37 PM

[VW management has] no interest in having a union become an anchor around their necks and drive them into financial ruin, but they do want to establish a mechanism where workers can communicate directly with management, being able to voice concerns – particularly about worker safety and operating conditions – and provide feedback on ways to improve their processes.

Then whyinell should VW management even DEAL with a union the WORKERS want nothing to do with?

Besides, isn’t that one of the functions of asst supervisors, supervisors and department managers supposed to be? A chain of command, if you will, between the workers and TPTB?

Newtie and the Beauty on July 12, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Gee, everyone is copying Obama. Can’t get what you want, take it anyway.

Cindy Munford on July 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM

“Upon Local 42 signing up a meaningful portion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga workforce,

As with the “Redskin” controversy, “meaningful” DOES NOT mean “majority”.

For “progressives” the term means something like 30%.

GarandFan on July 12, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Leftist Dems never quit, never. They have amazing boomerang traits. VW has to stand strong as do the non-union workers.

You can bet if the union gains a foothold, the first thing they will do is call a strike and the workers will lose everything. I watched unions kill my hometown.

MN J on July 12, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The locals should worry that if the greedy union takes hold, any openings will have to be filled by greedy UAW members from other states with seniority. With that comes the mattresses in the back corner, the “little talking-to” you will get if you work too hard, and the three-beer lunch breaks.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2014 at 4:19 PM

How in any way, shape or form does that sound rational to you?!

What if they “bargain” that you get a $5/hour REDUCTION in pay for 20% of the employees and the rest of you have to toe the line?

You’re going to be represented whether you want it or not and you WILL abide by their decisions.

Skywise on July 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM

What sane employer would ever agree to cut your pay, in favor of the union? IF such a situation were to happen, the two most likely outcomes would be either the non union workers leaving, or joining the union. Either option is a loss for the employer, because it strengthens the union.

The more likely outcome is that an employer has an incentive to take care of the non union employees, and pay them at least as well, if not better than the union employees.

HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

This is card check by another name.

Union goons will over time convince folks to publicly support the local. When they get to 40%, they will ask VW to recognize them.

the drill sgt on July 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Yes…we here at HA support those who make and sell the NSDAP-approved “people’s car”.

LMAO

Maybe VW can make a deal and get forced labor from local prisons to work in their plants like they did under Adolf? Of course, that was back then-an anomaly…oh wait! Ikea admitted to using forced labor from East German camps back in the ’70s. Wonder how many of these precious “free market” companies so many get warm and fuzzy over will make similar deals with FEMA camp directors? Thought you’d be sitting around all day having to learn about the glories of Marx, Lenin and Mao? Wroooong.

I say the hell with them. And to hell with the UAW crime syndicate as well.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

This is card check by another name.

Union goons will over time convince folks to publicly support the local. When they get to 40%, they will ask VW to recognize them.

the drill sgt on July 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

It’s the mafia by another name, but yes.

TexasDan on July 12, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Union thugs need to be sent packing with a beating.

James on July 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Decertify… then fire all involved.

Chaz706 on July 12, 2014 at 5:34 PM

This seems like the proper way for a union to operate. Allow those who want to associate freely come together, and have an agent negotiate on their behalf. Everyone else can do as they please.
 
HarryBackside on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 PM

 
Ha. That would be great.
 
Make it known that all non-union employees will be assigned annual evaluations/negotiations after union negotiations, and those individuals will get a bonus check that day for whatever amount union dues are (to offset the costs if they want to join, of course), an immediate 3% more than whatever overall increase the union agrees to, plus whatever the employee can justify for his personal performance as well.
 
Of course, if the employee joins the union their pay adjusts immediately into whatever strict levels the union helpfully and thoughtfully negotiated.
 
That would be fun to watch.

rogerb on July 12, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Non-Union workers decide to skip VW.

Another Drew on July 12, 2014 at 5:58 PM

This is card check by another name.

Union goons will over time convince folks to publicly support the local. When they get to 40%, they will ask VW to recognize them.

the drill sgt on July 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Yeah, it is, and there isn’t anything we can do about it right now. This “Local 42″ is going to be (short and medium term) like the VFA, a voluntary organization open to a select group: VW plant workers. Free association means they can get together for whatever reason. The legal trouble will come when VW decides to recognize them and the Wagner Act kicks in. Then we’ll go through the vote again.

If it succeeds, look to all the unions trying this tactic wherever they are.

Buck Farky on July 12, 2014 at 6:06 PM

but they do want to establish a mechanism where workers can communicate directly with management, being able to voice concerns – particularly about worker safety and operating conditions – and provide feedback on ways to improve their processes

What the hell kind of company doesn’t have a system for this internally? They need an outside agent to create an open door policy?

Bizarre.

ButterflyDragon on July 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

What the hell kind of company doesn’t have a system for this internally? They need an outside agent to create an open door policy?

Bizarre.

ButterflyDragon on July 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

This is why:

The challenge here at home is that American labor law prohibits a formal works council if it is created by management, rather than by a union or the workers themselves. The National Labor Relations Act “forbids an employer from dominating or impermissibly supporting a labor organization, and a labor organization is any kind of representation committee or plan,” Matthew Finkin, a professor of labor law at the University of Illinois, explained to ThinkProgress, if the purpose is, even in part, discussing wages, hours, and working conditions.

To summarize, the greedy unions had labor laws written to preclude corporations doing things that could substitute for a federally-recognized trade unions. In effect they made competition illegal.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2014 at 11:49 PM

They have no interest in having a union become an anchor around their necks and drive them into financial ruin, but they do want to establish a mechanism where workers can communicate directly with management, being able to voice concerns – particularly about worker safety and operating conditions – and provide feedback on ways to improve their processes.

Someone explain to me how the hell a successful, global company cannot figure THIS out without the help (alleged help) of the UAW ???

Good lord

US and Japanese car makers have generally had these kinds of programs in place for, literally, decades.

deadrody on July 13, 2014 at 9:52 AM

The best part is that unless this eventually LEADS to a union election, any kind of compulsory anything – dues, etc. – is entirely illegal and they wouldn’t stand a chance in hell in court.

They followed the law – they lost. This end around is unlikely to work and is guaranteed to be challenged and also lose.

deadrody on July 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Unions, liberals, and the follow the leader crowd is still trying to figure out who their leader is. But one thing is for sure following their current leader will only lead them over the cliff with the other lemmings.

Union organizers are now following their leader and by just doing what they want, organize and create a union of leaderless union members at a VW Plant, without the consent or authorization of the majority. Just like the fascist leaders that founded the Volkswagen (Peoples) car.

The longer we allow U.S. to be manipulated in this manner have only s short time left to turn this situation around. Fire the Bosses now.

MSGTAS on July 13, 2014 at 10:51 AM

was surprised the vote was so close The vote was 712 against the union and 626 in favor. There are about 1,550 hourly workers at the plant who were eligible to vote.

Union will continue to work for more votes so they can get paid to lower productivity at VW plant. Other plants in right to work states will not fold as easily as VW.

dwall on July 13, 2014 at 11:05 AM

The non union folks better get busy and put together a Local 100 Non-Union to represent them as a non union worker.

RJL on July 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Of course, if they officially get in bed with the UAW, they’ll probably wind up getting a lot more than they bargained for.

Screwed.

GWB on July 13, 2014 at 4:50 PM

They probably backed out of the NLRB hearing becasue of the SCOTUS ruling decimating the board, thereby making it not so absolute they would have received a ruling in their favor.

PJ Emeritus on July 14, 2014 at 11:09 AM