Employees at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee are scheduled to vote later this week in an NLRB secret-ballot election as to whether or not to be represented by the United Auto Workers.
Late last year, the UAW tried to unionize the employees without a secret-ballot election though a tactic called card check.
After learning of the UAW’s plans, a group VW employees quickly mobilized and launched a website (NO2UAW.com), gathering over 600 signatures on petitions stating they do not wish be represented by the UAW.
Since then, the UAW has worked hand-in-glove with the German union IG Metall, even going so far as to convince the German union, as well as VW’s management, that the only way to have a German-style “works council” is through a union like the UAW.
Not only is that untrue, the delegation of the UAW’s status as “exclusive bargaining representative” to a “Works Council” would likely be unlawful under Section 9 of the National Labor Relations Act, as well as against the UAW’s own International Constitution.
Notwithstanding the fact that the UAW is likely using the “Works Council” argument as a Trojan Horse in order to unionize VW’s employees, the UAW has already negotiated a secret deal behind the workers’ backs.
According to the NO2UAW.com website, in the UAW’s “neutrality agreement” with VW, the union has already agreed to certain things that will negatively impact employees if they choose the UAW later this week.
In a press release on the site, VW employees state:
“While UAW organizers are in our plant making implied promises of higher wages and bonuses to VW Team Members, the election agreement clearly spells out the UAW has already sold us out,” stated Mike Jarvis, a VW Team Member, referring to language buried on pages 11 and 12 of the UAW’s election agreement with Volkswagen.
“While its organizers are out there making a bunch of promises, the UAW, behind our backs, has already agreed to ‘maintaining and where possible enhancing’ VW’s cost advantages,” Jarvis explains. “Since the UAW is negotiating over our wages and benefits, it means their organizers are out here misleading a bunch of people and it’s very possible the UAW, in order to unionize us, has already agreed to give away what we’ve already got.”
To make matters worse, if the UAW and VW cannot reach a contract in “an appropriate period of time,” the election agreement states that Volkswagen and the UAW could, ultimately, have an arbitrator dictate the terms of a contract.
“While the UAW is out here preaching that they’ll be our voice,” stated Jarvis. “Bob King, Dennis Williams and Gary Casteel have already signed an agreement to take away our voice by having yet another outsider picked by the company and the union—not us—to make the final decision on us what our wages and benefits will be.”
“This is worse than what they did to the UAW members in 2007,” said fellow VW Team Member Sean Moss. “We’re not even unionized and the UAW is already starting to bargain away our rights behind closed doors. How many more backroom deals have they done behind our backs?”
Whether or not the majority of the 1500 or so VW employees realize they’ve already been sold out by union bosses out of Detroit remains to be seen.
Voting takes place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Chattanooga plant.