Workers at the Volkswagen automobile manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee — the only major Volkswagen production facility in the world where workers are not represented by a union — will hold a vote on February 12–14 to decide whether to unionize as part of the United Auto Workers.
If successful, they plan to organize under the works council model that is common at the company’s factories outside the United States, according to a press release from the UAW.
Works councils enable employees to collaborate with management in improving the workplace and increasing success through excellence for the company and the workers.
“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” UAW President Bob King says. “The UAW seeks to partner with [Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA)] and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor–management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”
The works council model has been successful for Volkswagen elsewhere, the union says. The company is recognized around the world as being a leader in respecting the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, with standards that go beyond labor standards.
“We have reached an agreement with VWGOA that will allow workers to express their opinion and decide on the question of union representation in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation,”UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel says. “The UAW commends the company and the Global Works Council for recognizing global human rights and worker rights in Tennessee.”
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