Volkswagen workers to vote on union representation in April

Volkswagen workers at a Chattanooga, Tenn., plant will hold a union election between April 17 and 19, United Auto Workers announced on Monday.

The landmark vote could make the VW facility the UAW’s first major win since a strike led to a new contract for “Big Three” workers last year, as the union eyes expansion in the South.

The workers filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board last week. The UAW previously said it would ask for an election when 70 percent of the plant’s 4,000 workers signed union cards.

“We’re voting yes to win a better life for ourselves and our families,” VW worker Isaac Meadows said in a statement. “We need a say in our schedules, benefits, pay, and more. We’re proud to work at Volkswagen, but we also know the value of a voice at work.”

Workers at the same Chattanooga plant, VW’s only American facility, previously filed for a UAW election in 2014 and 2019 but failed each time.

Over 10,000 nonunion workers have signed union cards at factories nationwide in recent months, the UAW said, part of its expansion plans. The union has already launched public campaigns at a Mercedes-Benz plant near Tuscaloosa, Ala., a Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Ala., and a Toyota facility in Troy, Mo. 

Workers at more than two dozen other facilities are also actively organizing, the union added.

Volkswagen said it respects the legal election process in a statement to The Hill last week.

“We respect our workers’ right to a democratic process and to determine who should represent their interests,” the company said in a statement. “We will fully support an NLRB vote so every team member has a chance to vote in privacy in this important decision.”

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