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James Sherk

How Union Law Hurts a Nonunion Auto Plant

Volkswagen Group of America’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has experienced something unusual: a union welcomed by management but faced with resistance from some workers. A combination of outdated labor laws and union intransigence has created this oddity.

German law requires “works councils” in which management and labor groups meet to collaboratively sort out workplace issues. Consequently, there is a works council at every Volkswagen plant -- except the one in Chattanooga. Now, under pressure from IG Metall, the German union, Volkswagen AG’s headquarters has decided it wants a works council in the U.S., too.