11 May, 2017At the car manufacturer’s annual general meeting in Hannover on 10 May, Steve Cochran, president of UAW Local 42, took the floor to question Volkswagen on their employment policies at the plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The plant in Chattanooga is Volkswagen’s only plant worldwide without a company-recognized employee union. Notwithstanding, in December 2015, an overwhelming majority of more than 70 per cent of the skilled-trades workers voted to be represented by IndustriALL affiliate United Auto Workers (UAW).
Yet VW Chattanooga is refusing to bargain with UAW Local 42, even after the U.S. government has ordered the company to enter into negotiations.
Steeve Cochran, president of UAW Local 42, told shareholders at the AGM:
“With its behaviour, Volkswagen violates its own principles of social responsibility as well as the global framework agreement with IndustriALL.”
UAW is calling on the company’s management to recognize UAW Local 42 as the representative of VW employees in Chattanooga, and to enter into bargaining negotiations with them.
“VW management is disregarding fundamental labour rights, U.S. labour law and its own code of conduct. It risks a massive damage of its own image,” said Gary Casteel, Secretary Treasurer at UAW.
Details of the hazardous health and safety conditions and the anti-union climate at the VW plant in Chattanooga are discussed in the report “At What Cost”, published by the American Federation of Labor- Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).
In April, IndustriALL affiliates representing VW workers around the world met to exchange information on VW labour relations and show solidarity with the Chattanooga workers.
“Workers in Chattanooga have voted for union representation yet Volkswagen continues to deny them their legal right,” says IndustriALL General Secretary Valter Sanches. “Volkswagen need to stop targeting these workers and allow the union in the workplace.”
A petition calling for Volkswagen to stop union busting in Chattanooga has received more than 62,000 signatures.
“Over 62,000 SumOfUs members around the world, including Volkswagen drivers and shareholders, have signed a protest petition showing their disgust for Volkswagen’s disrespect for the rules,” said SumOfUs campaigner Eoin Dubsky.