The ongoing drama surrounding the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and the Volkswagen Tennessee plant reached a new earlier this month, with the UAW stating that it has qualified for the top tier of labor policy in the facility and will have a role in the plant.
VW says that an independent auditor has verified that at least 45 percent of plant employees have signed up with UAW’s Local 42, which means that the union is entitled to attend biweekly discussions with managers, as well as frequent access to the plant for meetings and can also partake in other organizing activity. The new policy doesn’t include collective bargaining.
For months now, the UAW has been trying to get a foothold in VW’s union-free plant. In February, things reached a fever pitch when the union lost a narrow and contentious vote. Both sides fought hard, including lawmakers who added to the controversy by suggesting a pro-union vote would have political implications.
After that incident in February, VW said it would work to incorporate more employee feedback into the plant through its German-style works council. This model has wages bargained through the union, while the council helps with matters like job security and working conditions. Plans are still ongoing to make this happen.
The plant currently manufactures only one model — the North American-market Volkswagen Passat. In the future, it will produce VW’s upcoming seven-seat crossover and possibly another crossover that’s smaller.
Stay tuned as we learn more.