VW Denies UAW Request to Be Sole Representative in Tennessee

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Volkswagen AG said it’s denying a request by the United Auto Workers to be recognized as sole representative of employees at the company’s factory in Tennessee and to establish the first German-style works council in the U.S.

The automaker said in a statement Thursday that it plans to continue to work with the UAW as well as the American Council of Employees, a rival organization. Earlier in the day, the Detroit-based UAW said it was asking for the sole recognition.

Carsten Krebs, a Volkswagen spokesman, said that meeting with both organizations “has been a very effective way to start dialog with each of the groups and we intend to continue with the community organization engagement policy.”

Talks on forming a works council should resume and “Volkswagen should recognize us as the bargaining agent and move forward with this concept,” Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer, said on a conference call before the company statement. “A works council can only exist with a union and VW has said their preferred union is the UAW.”

Since the UAW lost an election last year, 712 to 626, the union has been attending biweekly meetings with Volkswagen’s human resources department and the Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant’s leadership, Casteel said in December.

Casteel said Thursday that the union doesn’t plan to hold another election or a card check, which is a form of rolling vote. The UAW now represents 55 percent of hourly workers at the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company’s factory, Casteel said.

The American Council of Employees has said it represents 15 percent to 30 percent of the plant’s hourly and salaried workers.

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