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VW to go to U.S. court to keep 160 Tennessee plant workers from UAW


DETROIT  - Volkswagen AG said on Monday it would go to a U.S. federal appeals court in an effort to keep the United Auto Workers union from representing a portion of the company's plant workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a December vote of about 160 skilled trades workers at the plant who voted to join the UAW. The plant has fewer than 1,500 hourly workers.

While the unit of skilled trades workers who maintain the assembly machinery are a fraction of the hourly work force, VW bargaining with them could serve as a launching pad for the union's efforts to organize other foreign-owned plants in the South. In decades of trying, the UAW has not organized a foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the region.

A VW statement said the company disagrees with the NLRB decision because it would mean only a portion of the plant's workers are represented. The company has maintained this position since before the December vote in which 71 percent of the skilled trades workers supported joining the UAW.

"We are disappointed that the NLRB declined to fully evaluate this important question. Therefore, Volkswagen will take the necessary steps to have this issue reviewed by a federal court of appeal," VW said in its statement.

The UAW did not have an immediate comment, but earlier this month indicated that VW should follow U.S. labor law and allow the portion of Chattanooga workers to begin collective bargaining for wages and benefits.