VW workers at Tennessee plant reject union

VW workers at Tennessee plant reject union

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WJBK) -- Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have rejected the United Auto Workers union.
 
The 712 to 626 vote is a devastating blow to the union and its efforts to organize other Southern plants run by foreign automakers.
 
About 1,500 workers were eligible to vote during three days of balloting that ended Friday night.
 
Experts say it was the best chance for the union to gain a foothold in the South, where it's been shunned by other workers.
 
Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the plant to make their sales pitch.

THE UAW RELEASED THIS STATEMENT:

Workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant today have voted against union representation that would have led to the establishment of a works council that would have been the first such model of labor-management relations in the United States.

At the end of voting on Friday, Volkswagen workers voted against joining the union in a vote of 712 to 626.

The decision follows three days of voting during an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board and comes amid a firestorm of interference and threats from special interest groups.

"While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union," said UAW President Bob King.

"We commend Volkswagen for its commitment to global human rights, to worker rights and trying to provide an atmosphere of freedom to make a decision," said UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, who directs the union's Southern organizing. "Unfortunately, politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that would grow jobs in Tennessee."

"While we're outraged by politicians and outside special interest groups interfering with the basic legal right of workers to form a union, we're proud that these workers were brave and stood up to the tremendous pressure from outside," said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, who directs the union's transnational program. "We hope this will start a larger discussion about workers' right to organize."
___

-The Associated Press contributed to this report

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