Canadian Manufacturing

UAW drops appeal over failed unionization vote at Tenn. VW plant

Union dropped appeal an hour before scheduled start of National Labor Relations Board hearing

April 21, 2014  by Erik Schelzig, The Associated Press

NASHVILLE—The United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced this week it is withdrawing an appeal of the outcome of a unionization vote at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee.

In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., UAW President Bob King said the union decided to put the “tainted election in the rearview mirror” because the challenge could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion.

The UAW had filed its appeal with the NLRB after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712-626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from United States Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other GOP officials raised fears about the plant’s future if workers there organized.

Documents also show Tennessee tied a US$300-million incentive package to the satisfactory outcome of the labour situation at the plant.


Corker and Haslam filed motions fighting subpoenas from the union to produce documents and appear at the NLRB hearings.

“The unprecedented political interference by Gov. Haslam, Sen. Corker and others was a distraction for Volkswagen employees and a detour from achieving Tennessee’s economic priorities,” King said. “The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga.”

The vote against the UAW was a setback to the union’s goal of expanding into foreign-owned auto plants in the U.S., particularly those in the South.

The UAW says it will now focus on a congressional investigation into an anti-unionization campaign by Republican politicians and outside groups.