It’s certainly unconventional for the U.S. labor movement, but the UAW scored a victory at VW in Chattanooga. VW has agreed to meet with the UAW bi-weekly to discuss work issues, after an accounting firm certified that the UAW represented over 45% of the workers in Chattanooga.
The UAW, however, is not the exclusive representative of the VW workers. The UAW is the first of what could be several organizations to be certified by VW to meet with management.
The UAW’s certification follows VW’s policy that its management will meet with any organization that is independently certified to represent at least 15% of a group of the Chattanooga workers. How often a group meets with management and what level of management attends the meeting are determined by the percentage of the group’s representation of workers. A group that represents between 15% and 30% can meet with the human resources department monthly. A group that represents between 30% and 45% of the workers can meet with the human resources department monthly and with a member of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee quarterly. A group, such as the UAW, that represents over 45% can meet with human resources bi-weekly and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee monthly.
VW’s unique policy of “Community Organization Engagement” was instituted several weeks ago and followed the UAW’s secret-ballot election defeat in February to be the exclusive bargaining agent.
Readers of this blog will remember that there were several groups of VW workers opposed the UAW during the NLRB election campaign. Whether those anti-UAW groups become certified under VW’s policy will be interesting to see.
The UAW could petition the NLRB for another secret ballot election to be the exclusive representative in April.