Volkswagen will escape a second unionization effort at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant for the time being after the National Labor Relations Board sided with the company in a legal dispute with the United Auto Workers.
The NLRB in an unexpected move May 3, granted Volkswagen’s request to put the election on hold. The company argued that a separate legal dispute over the UAW’s earlier attempt to organize a smaller group of workers must be resolved before workers can vote on whether to be represented by the union plant-wide.
NLRB Chairman John Ring (R) and Member Marvin Kaplan (R) agreed to block the new union vote in a single-sentence opinion, without a larger explanation on the basis for the decision. Lauren McFerran, the board’s sole Democrat, said in a dissenting opinion that VW “has not established that such extraordinary relief is necessary.”
In a statement, Volkswagen re-iterated its belief that any union in Chattanooga should include all employees rather than a smaller group of workers.
“Before we proceed, we asked the National Labor Relations Board to ensure that the pending NLRB decision is properly resolved first,” the company said. “Today, the NLRB agreed to consider our request and we look forward to their decision.”
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg was in transit and not immediately able to access the decision but said that “Chattanooga workers deserve to have a vote to have the same workplace rights as every other VW worker in the world.”
This is just an excuse by Republican appointees to the NLRB to intervene to ensure unions will never organize southern auto. This is precisely why so many labor people are thinking we need to blow up the National Labor Relations Act entirely and start over, finding some way to organize workers outside of this totally corrupted framework. But there’s little reason to believe these radical right courts and government appointees will allow anything workers to do organize to move forward. We are slowly–day by day, NLRB decision by NLRB decision, court opinion by court opinion–moving toward making unions illegal, or at the very least utterly ineffective.