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UAW Says Tennessee VW Plant Workers to Run in Union Election

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A Volkswagen EV ID.4 crossover at the Volkswagen of America plant in Chattanooga, Tenneessee, June 8, 2022.

Michael Wayland | CNBC

DETROIT — Volkswagen Workers at a Tennessee factory filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a vote to join the United Auto Workers, the the union announced Monday.

The complaint comes after a “vast majority of Volkswagen workers signed union cards in just 100 days,” the union said, marking a major step in the union group’s process. organize campaigns non-union automobile factories in the United States

The UAW failed to unionize foreign-based automakers in the United States. More recently, Volkswagen and Nissan factories have failed to gain the support needed to unionize. In 2019, workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, rejected union representation in a vote of 833 to 776.

The Chattanooga plant is VW’s only assembly plant in the United States and employs more than 4,000 autoworkers who would be eligible to vote for union representation.

VW confirmed it received notice that the UAW had filed a petition with the NLRB to hold an election. The company said it respects its workers’ rights to a democratic process and to organize.

“We will fully support an NLRB vote so that every team member has the chance to vote confidentially on this important decision. The election schedule will be determined by the NLRB. Volkswagen is proud of our work environment in Chattanooga, which offers some of the best paying jobs in the area,” the company said in an emailed statement.

VW production workers at the plant earn between $23.40 an hour and $32.40 an hour, with a four-year growth period to reach top wages, according to the company.

VW’s hourly wages are lower than those the UAW negotiated last year with Detroit automakers, which this year range from $25 to $36 an hour for production workers, including estimated cost of living adjustments, or COLAs. By the end of the UAW contracts, top wages are expected to exceed $42 an hour for production workers.

VW is one of 13 non-unionized automakers in the United States, which the UAW set its sights on late last year after securing record contracts with Detroit automakers.

This campaign concerns nearly 150,000 automotive workers in the BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Rivian, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo sectors.

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