Huge Loss for UAW: Tennessee Workers Say No
Volkswagen employees reject union
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 14, 2014 9:33 PM CST
In this 2012 file photo, an employee at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., works on a Passat sedan.   (Erik Schelzig)

(Newser) – Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation, a devastating loss that derails the United Auto Workers union's effort to organize Southern factories. The 712-626 vote released tonight stunned many labor experts who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches. The UAW for decades has tried without success to organize a foreign-owned plant in a region that's wary of organized labor. The loss now makes it even harder for the union to recruit members at another Southern factory.

"If they can't win this one, what can they win?" asked Art Schwartz, a former General Motors labor negotiator who now is a consultant in Ann Arbor, Mich. UAW President Bob King, in a 2011 speech to workers, said the union has no long-term future if it can't organize the Southern plants. King, however, stuck to statements he made earlier that the union would seek a vote and respect any decision made by workers. "While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management, and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union," King said in a statement.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 215 comments
InsomniacRyan
Feb 16, 2014 2:41 PM CST
Welp, looks like they just didn't want it. I would say 'that's really sad' except that you can't give a person more control over their destiny, they have to accept it. I agree with everyone else in supporting VW on this, though. They let people decide for themselves, free and clear of any intervention.
PadrePio
Feb 16, 2014 1:56 PM CST
I love this headline. If the UAW had one would it be a "huge win for the union"?
Ezekiel 25:17
Feb 16, 2014 11:22 AM CST
On the bright side, my city, visavis, Feed the Children, sends hundreds of truckloads of food, clothes, and supplies to east Tennessee each year to feed and cloth starving children in the mountains.