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Local political, business respond to issue

Volkswagen are being faced with the of unionization. (Photo: Staff)

to unionize Volkswagen of Chattanooga are but forces of opposition are also And although there is work done on both sides, people, such as VW workers and and political leaders, are hesitant to about it.

It’s always hard to be the guy who rocks the boat, Bill se nior analyst  with automotive shopping and research said.

Volkswagen employees be reluctant to discuss the issue of because they fear from company leaders or co-workers, he said.

But Volkswagen have continuously said the to organize is up to the workers. And the National Relations Act  prevents employers interfering with employees’ to create a union.

Some and community leaders didn’t much to add to the conversation.

But leaders of the Auto Workers Union are local meetings with employees.

And there is a think group called the Competitive Institute out of Washington, D.C. has a labor project aimed the message out that letting the UAW Volkswagen could have a potentially negative impact on the city of Chattanooga and its economy.

For more than a year. with the United Auto Union have been Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant, and are having discussions about the of creating a German-style labor

But it’s still unclear that kind of organization look like.

UAW President Bob is scheduled to leave that in June 2014—has said the union doesn’t have a unless it can organize workers in states, such as Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, according to News.

It’s a unique opportunity, and the UAW that, Visnic said of the system. UAW has lost membership. The carmakers have reduced manufacturing footprint dramatically bankruptcy. UAW membership is down from what it was five ago.

But many of the reasons used to organize have antiquated.

Historically, after organizing to help workers get treatment, the auto unions out into establishing middle-class and benefits.

But by the ‘70s and ‘80s, manufacturing unions began to the way auto companies worked.

able to shift some away from the company and it to employees, many people to think that union became counterproductive and profit-zapping, to archives .

Since union presence has dwindled in right-to-work states, such as and in large part, federal law employees from mistreatment.

So the question is what more a worker at Volkswagen need or Visnic said.

In January officials talked to pay for Volkswagen employees. At that a Volkswagen spokesman said VW workers start out at $14.50 an and workers in Spring Hill and unionized plants start out at four years, Volkswagen are making more than employees.

After four union employees at General in Spring Hill make an hour. After three at Volkswagen, employees make an hour, according to

The General Motors union expires in 2015, according to News Sentinel .

But since last year, at Volkswagen have increased, a said.

Production team now start at $15 an hour and move to $16 in six The pay increases up to $21 per hour after years.

Employees are earning $20 at the mark now.

UAW leaders recently spoke with Automotive  about prospects for Chattanooga

Organizing efforts

In May. a circulated at Volkswagen, and in it, some voiced the need for organizing.

And of the German union IG Metall workers to join a union.

The way for us to solve problems in our company and to its success is to have a true in the company, and the only way to accomplish is through forming a strong in our plant, Eric DeLacy, who in the VW paint department, wrote in the according to archives.

But at a Thursday UAW held at the IBEW electrical facility on Volunteer Drive, people there declined to to

And the leader of the meeting to regional UAW leader Casteel, who didn’t respond to requests for comment.

But Casteel wrote an opinion piece in the Chattanooga Times Free in which he said the organizing for a German-style union were but that some people taken the time to learn the relating to the VW system, culture and and who want to make this an confrontation.

VW workers in Chattanooga are exercising their legal to form a union and should not be to threats and innuendo from nor misrepresentation of the facts by anti-… groups, Casteel

He described the German model and that Chattanooga shouldn’t be the VW facility in the world that have representation.

For the Chattanooga to be an outlier weakens its position the VW system, he said in the column.


What . A public Chattanooga, UAW and Free Markets, by a local group called for Free Markets, said who will be a speaker at the event

. July 18, 6:30 p.m.

For information: Click here

to organization 

A labor project run by Patterson. a senior fellow at the D.C. nonprofit the Competitive Institute, which advocates for government, free enterprise and liberty, has put up a billboard near Road that reads, Auto ate Detroit. Next meal:

Patterson said that the union’s influence on Detroit led to bailouts of major auto and hurt the national economy.

He that the UAW needs to organize in the which King has also

But companies such as Volkswagen been attracted to Southern because they are right-to-work which have a fewer of organization.

I worry that the of Chattanooga [don’t] have all the they need on how this impact them, Patterson It’s easy to say that up to the factory workers. But it’s true that the decision affect everyone in Chattanooga by the UAW more powerful.

Patterson that unions impose and regulations on companies, which flexibility and ultimately drives up costs and hurts the business.

He said Detroit auto leaders made bad decisions by the UAW form there.

And he wants leaders and residents to have a on the issue.

I think that leaders in Chattanooga—and this is my opinion—they are afraid to take a stand on the issue because you a potentially very powerful, political entity, which to be on the verge of coming into he said. They are afraid to [them]. [The UAW] is for throwing their money and buying politicians.

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Community, leaders response

Mayor Berke and Mayor Jim Coppinger a trip to Germany recently to courting Volkswagen. several local and state if having the UAW in Chattanooga would or help the city.

Harr had no and Sen. Bob Corker, who is also the mayor of Chattanooga and helped the deal for VW to come here, be reached.

But Corker recently the Chattanooga Times Free that Volkswagen leaders are that if the UAW became involved in the it would be negative for the future growth of our state.

Corker said he thought that of the chamber think the UAW would business recruitment in the state.

He he isn’t trying to influence VW and that the decision should be to workers, according to the article. And he said the idea that a is needed to bring in new production true.

David Smith, for Gov. Bill Haslam, that one of the things that Tennessee great is that it is a state.

According to the National Right to Legal Defense Foundation, law secures employees’ rights to for themselves whether to join or support a union.

Smith that ultimately the decision unionization is up to employees and that the has not come up between state and VW.

The governor has spoken with a of employees in Chattanooga, and they are comfortable with the way things are Smith said via email. continues to be very successful the current structure.

Berke Lacie Stone said the administration thinks the issue be left up to Volkswagen of Chattanooga

But Coppinger said via his spokesman the UAW presence would hurt the economy.

I am concerned this UAW would impact our ongoing to bring economic development to County, Coppinger said. Hamilton County facility is a example of not only manufacturing but outstanding commitment to employee and benefits, as many employees said to me. I am not aware of a community in the where the presence of the UAW has enhanced development.

Visnic said the issue of unionization has become

In previous generations, unions about protecting workers abuse and inhumane treatment. But has evolved over the years. of pay are still part of the union but federal laws now regulate conditions.

But in the past 10 years, a new political dimension that has And the Chattanooga situation is more by the proposal of a German-style organization.

unclear how that system actually work. German-style don’t have the adversarial between workers and executives unions in the United States had.

What workers at Volkswagen have to decide is what a union would provide and if want those benefits, said.

But he doesn’t buy the idea unions were the reason the Detroit automakers (except for needed a government bailout—although he both sides could be

And he said that the cost of at auto manufacturers is a fairly percentage of the overall cost of the so it’s hard to argue labor costs were the reason for the Detroit downfall. But said that unions did get a too much control.

And he doesn’t that VW leaders are basing decisions about expansion on the workers organize.

What the is going to base its decision on is that investment is going to pay off he said.

Updated @ 9:53 on 7/15/13 for clarity.

Updated @ a.m. on 7/15/13 to correct a error: Harr did not accompany and Coppinger on the trip to Germany, as reported.

Updated @ 2:53  on 7/15/13 to add more information as it available.

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