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Latest News - November 2014

November 15, 2014
German labor chief: VW must halt anti-union group
Source: Town Hall
AP News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The head of the German union representing automotive workers is speaking out against Volkswagen working with anti-labor groups at its plant in Tennessee.

In a statement issued Friday in Frankfurt, Germany, IG Metall President Detlef Wetzel called on Volkswagen to "show its true colors" in officially recognizing the United Auto Workers union as its bargaining partner at the Chattanooga factory once the union proves it has signed up a majority of workers there.

"It is our objective to guarantee also under the politically difficult circumstances in the United States that labor union rights are respected and codetermination in the plant is possible," Wetzel said.

Under German law, worker representatives hold half the seats on the board of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen, which lends added weight to Wetzel's position. It also appears to reflect some concern that a new company policy released this week could serve to undermine efforts by its U.S. ally, the United Auto Workers, to organize its first foreign automaker in the South.

Volkswagen management has been under heavy pressure from union representatives on the board because the U.S. plant stands alone among the automaker's worldwide facilities without formal labor representation for workers. The company has voiced support for creating a German-style works council to represent both salaried and hourly workers, but says U.S. law requires it to work with an independent union to create one.

Volkswagen this week established guidelines for giving labor groups that sign up at least 15 percent of workers access to plant facilities and to regular meetings with management. While the policy would apply to the United Auto Workers, it could also benefit the American Council of Employees, an organization led by workers who spearheaded efforts to defeat the UAW in a union vote in February.


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