In a petition to the National Labor Relations Board, the workers
asked to intervene in the UAW's appeal by saying the union and VW
are in collusion to bring unionization to the Chattanooga plant.
Not allowing them to intervene "would be akin to allowing two foxes
to guard the henhouse" a petition filed on behalf of the workers by
the National Right to Work Foundation says.
The UAW on Friday filed the objection to the result of the February
12-14 election, in which VW's Chattanooga workers rejected the union
by a 712-to-626 vote. The UAW claimed that outside interference led
by politicians such as Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker improperly
The workers claim that if they are not heard, the company and the
union will not present a defense of the vote's result, according to
a copy of the petition to the NLRB's regional office in Atlanta that
was provided by the National Right to Work Foundation.
"The employee-intervenors must be permitted to intervene because
their employer and the UAW are colluding to force unionization onto
them and their co-workers," said the petition to the NLRB.
The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal
assistance to the five workers.
"Any interests the UAW or Volkswagen possess are secondary to those
of the employee-intervenors and their fellow employees who voted
against unionization," and they "must" be allowed to intervene, the
The five workers are among eight who filed charges with the NLRB
last fall against the UAW, saying that the union coerced and misled
workers to sign cards supporting the UAW. The NLRB's staff dismissed
those charges on January 23.
In the petition, the National Right to Work Foundation's attorneys
appended the agreement between Volkswagen and the UAW to hold the
secret ballot election at the Chattanooga plant, citing it as an
example of the collusion between company and union.
[to top of second column]
The UAW and VW signed the agreement January 27 to hold the election.
The agreement calls for, if the VW Chattanooga workers approved the
UAW, the establishment of a works council similar to the ones VW had
at all of its major wholly owned plants around the world.
Such a works council would include both the blue-collar workers
whose wages and benefits would be collectively bargained for by the
UAW as well as white-collar workers who would not be in the union.
The works council would help decide some work rules at the plant but
would not negotiate wages and benefits. Most labor lawyers agree
that in order to establish a works council in the United States, a
U.S.-based union is needed to keep it from being deemed a company
union, which is prohibited under U.S. labor law.
VW's management from Chattanooga to the company's headquarters in
Wolfsburg, Germany still wants to set up a works council at the
plant. On February 14, minutes after the UAW loss was announced,
Frank Fischer, the top-ranking VW official at the plant, said the
company wanted to set up an "American-style" works council in
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; editing by
Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)
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