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Latest News - February 2014

February 3, 2014
Updated: VW employees form nonprofit, request chance to share ideas about "alternative methods of worker representation"
By: Chloe Morrison

Volkswagen employees have formed a nonprofit organization called Southern Momentum and asked executives at the company to allow them to discuss "alternative methods of worker representation" at the local plant.

Headed up by Volkswagen employee Mike Burton, who also created the No2UAW website, the workers sent a letter to CEO Frank Fischer with two requests.

The first request is for access to the VW conference center or training center to discuss alternative organization possibilities.

"Volkswagen team members are entitled to be provided with all available information concerning their options, as well as the potential implications of those choices," Burton said in the letter, obtained by Monday morning. "We are simply asking that the team members be provided with information to assist them in making an informed decision."

The second request is for a copy of the "Excelsior list," which—according to Burton's letter—is a list of contact information for employees who are eligible to vote in a union election.

Monday's letter request was made on behalf of 600 team members who have signed petitions saying they don't support the UAW efforts to organize the plant. 

Burton also made the requests Friday, but VW officials denied them because he wasn't representing an official organization.

According to documents filed with the state of Tennessee, Southern Momentum filed to be a nonprofit corporation Friday. 

Volkswagen officials didn't have a comment on the issue Monday morning. 

Workers have requested a decision from Volkswagen management by noon today. 

Maury Nicely—with local law firm Evans Harrison Hackett, which is representing Volkswagen employees—said Monday that VW officials denied the second request. 

This movement comes in the midst of efforts by the United Auto Workers Union to organize at Volkswagen. 

Burton and other workers recently filed charges against Volkswagen of America and the United Auto Workers Union in relation to these efforts with the National Labor Relations Board. 

Volkswagen employees will appeal a recommendation to dismiss allegations. 

The charges came from Volkswagen employees with help from the National Right to Work Legal Foundation and stem from efforts to organize the local plant. 

One complaint alleged, in part, that statements by German officials have illegally coerced workers into representation by the United Auto Workers Union.

The other complaint said that UAW representatives got workers to sign union authorization cards by coercion and misrepresentation and used union cards signed too long ago to be legally valid.

After the dismissal recommendation from the NLRB, National Right to Work Foundation attorneys announced that they requested an official inquiry into conduct surrounding the suggestion by NLRB officials to dismiss the allegations. 

President of the United Auto Workers Union Bob King has said the UAW should have a presence in the local Volkswagen plant by June. 

A petition to have an election is expected to be filed with the National Labor Relations Board soon, but an NLRB official said Monday morning it hadn't been filed yet.



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