UAW Says Volkswagen Refuses to Bargain With Tennessee Workers

Volkswagen AG is refusing to bargain with skilled-trades workers at the company’s Tennessee plant who voted for union representation earlier this month, the United Auto Workers said.

UAW Local 42 filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the refusal to negotiate with the workers at the company’s Chattanooga factory, according to a union statement Tuesday. The U.S. board certified the 108-44 vote by the maintenance workers on Dec. 15.

“We were hopeful that the company would accept the results and recommit to the principles of social responsibility that made Volkswagen a respected global brand,” said Gary Casteel, the UAW’s secretary-treasurer and director of its efforts to organize at foreign automakers. By refusing to bargain, Volkswagen “is not only doing a disservice to its employees but now is thumbing its nose at the federal government as well,” he said.

The Detroit-based union is engaged in a long-term effort to represent all hourly employees at the Chattanooga plant. Volkswagen previously argued that a bargaining unit made up solely of maintenance workers was inappropriate and that any union-represented group at the plant should include both production and maintenance employees. The UAW lost a representation election in 2014 that included all of the plant’s hourly workers.

Jeannine Ginivan, a spokeswoman for the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.

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