By Christopher A. Sawyer
The final score was 712 – 626, and the shouting has yet to subside. Despite the most liberal definition of “neutrality” ever used by the management of a global corporation, workers at VW’s Chattanooga, TN, assembly plant voted against joining the United Auto Workers union and foiled, for now, efforts at establishing a worker’s council at the plant. It is the only facility in the VW empire without this management-union-worker appendage.
Intent on bagging its first transplant assembly plant and using this victory as a springboard to similar success at the U.S. plants of Honda, Nissan and Toyota, the UAW made a full-court press to convince VW workers that their lives would be better under its banner. It was aided and abetted by German corporate management that wanted union representation and the worker’s council it would bring. Once that happened, this state-of-the-art American facility would no longer be a threat to the health and well being of the cozy VW management/union empire.