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  The National Labor Relations Board is ordering Volkswagen to recognize a labor union at its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant. But Volkswagen opposes United Auto Workers Local 42 because the group is only a small part of the plant's overall workforce.

The United Auto Workers' newest local union is forming in Chattanooga with workers from the same plant where the UAW was rejected earlier this year.  Called UAW Local 42, it's UAW’s latest effort to organize in the South.

In February, the UAW tried to unionize the entire VW Chattanooga auto plant, with cooperation from the company itself.  That bid was rejected in a 712-626 vote.  But UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel says he believes this renewed effort will succeed.

"The main reason," Casteel says, "I think, is because there's no election involved here.  There's no opportunity for third-party interference."

During the UAW’s original bid to unionize the plant, Senator Bob Corker and other conservative politicians had weighed in, urging workers to reject the union.  Formation of this new local union doesn’t require a vote—just signatures from 15 employees.  But it also lacks official recognition from Volkswagen.  If the local union grows to represent the entire VW Chattanooga workforce, it would be the first foreign-owned auto plant to unionize in the South.

Many questions remain: is this new union a step toward a German-style works council at the plant?  What, if anything, does this have to do with the new SUV that may be produced at the plant?  This audio features excerpts from the press conference and analysis from Chloe Morrison, a reporter at our news partner

UPDATE 7/11/14 at 1:30 p.m.: Senator Bob Corker's office has responded to the UAW annoucement.

“There has been some confusion about what happened yesterday related to the UAW’s announcement that they are opening an office in Chattanooga and its impact on Volkswagen's expansion considerations,” said Todd Womack, Corker’s chief of staff, in a prepared statement. “The fact is, nothing happened. Any union can rent space in any city and open an office. Volkswagen made it very clear in their statement that they have no agreement whatsoever with the UAW."

Moments before a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board was to convene attorneys for the UAW withdrew objections to the results of a February union vote at the Volkswagen Group of America assembly plant in Chattanooga Tennessee. 

U.S. Senator Bob Corker is commenting on the United Auto Workers' withdrawal of their appeal of the recent UAW vote at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant.  "It's time for VW, our state and our community to re-engage and move forward with bringing additional jobs to Chattanooga," Corker said in a statement this morning.

In February, the UAW had sought to unionize the plant and narrowly lost in a 712-626 vote.  The UAW then appealed the vote, saying that Corker and other politicians had interfered.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the National Labor Relations Board will conduct a hearing in Chattanooga to determine whether a second vote should happen at the Volkswagen plant where workers narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers' bid for representation.  The hearing was originally scheduled for April 7.

However, according to a NLRB spokesperson, the hearing has now been rescheduled to April 21st.

We'll have more details as they become available.

UAW Appeals VW Vote In Chattanooga

Feb 21, 2014

The United Auto Workers are appealing last week's election results at Chattanooga's Volkswagen manufacturing plant.  In the UAW's objection, filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the UAW claims that Tennessee politicians such as State Senator Bo Watson "conducted what appears to have been a coordinated and widely-publicized coercive campaign... to deprive VWGOA workers of their federally-protected right, through the Election, to support and select the UAW as their exclusive representative... free of coercion, intimidation, threats and interference."

When workers at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga narrowly rejected the United Auto Workers in a recent vote on whether to unionize, it was a stinging setback for a labor movement looking for a big organizing victory in a Southern state.

The United Auto Workers failed to unionize Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant last week, but how soon might they return? reporter Chloé Morrison joins WUTC's Michael Edward Miller for a discussion of what's ahead.

Workers at the Volkswagen auto assembly plant in Chattanooga have rejected representation from the United Auto Workers.  The vote was a disappointment for the UAW, which lost by a narrow margin.  About 1,300 workers voted, and anti-union forces won by only 86 votes. UAW President Bob King said that to lose by such a close margin is very difficult.

"Obviously, we’re deeply disappointed," King said after results were announced.

President Obama Comments on VW Vote

Feb 14, 2014

After a week of local and state politicians speaking out about the ongoing unionization vote at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant, President Obama has joined the discussion, "accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers," according to Reuters.

Both pro-and anti-union forces are predicting victory as workers at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant decide whether to allow the United Auto Workers to represent then.  If the workers vote yes, VW will set up a works council with UAW participation at the plant--a first in the United States.  Works councils

VW CEO Refutes Corker's Claim

Chattanooga has been named as a likely site for production of Volkswagen's newest sport utility vehicle.  But U.S. Senator Bob Corker says if plant workers decide to reject the United Auto Workers, that could clinch the deal.

The unionization vote at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant has spurred impassioned debate.  Various pro-union and anti-union organizations are in the Scenic City, attempting to persuade local VW workers to vote one way or another.  One group put up billboards around town that say, “Auto Unions Ate Detroit.  Next Meal: Chattanooga?”