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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-attack 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 Detroit auto manufacturer made bad decisions by letting the UAW there.

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

I that political leaders in this is just my opinion—they are to take a public stand on the because you have a potentially powerful, very political which appears to be on the verge of into town, he said. are afraid to anger [them]. UAW] is known for throwing money around and buying

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Community, political leaders

Mayor Andy Berke and Jim Coppinger took a trip to recently to continue courting asked several and state leaders if having the UAW in would hurt or help the

Harr had no comment, and Sen. Bob who is also the former mayor of and helped negotiate the deal for VW to here, couldn’t be reached.

But recently told the Chattanooga Free Press that leaders are aware that if the UAW involved in the plant, it would be for the future economic growth of our

Corker also said he that leaders of the chamber the UAW would hurt business in the state.

He said he isn’t to influence VW employees and that the should be left to workers, to the article. And he also said the that a union is needed to in new production isn’t true.

Smith, spokesman for Gov. Haslam, said that one of the that makes Tennessee is that it is a right-to-work state.

to the National Right to Work Defense Foundation, right-to-work law employees’ rights to decide for whether to join or financially a union.

Smith said that the decision about unionization is up to and that the subject has not come up state leaders and VW.

The governor has with a number of employees in and they are very comfortable the way things are now, Smith via email. Volkswagen continues to be successful with the current

Berke spokesman Lacie said that the administration the issue should be left up to of Chattanooga employees.

But Coppinger via his spokesman that the UAW presence hurt the county’s economy.

I am this UAW effort would our ongoing efforts to bring development to Hamilton County, said. Volkswagen’s Hamilton facility is a shining example of not manufacturing design, but outstanding to employee opportunity and benefits, as employees have said to me. I am not of a community in the country where the of the UAW has enhanced economic development.

said that the issue of has become political.

In previous unions were about workers from abuse and treatment. But that has evolved the years. Issues of pay are still of the union debates, but federal now regulate working conditions.

But in the 10 years, there’s a new political that has developed. And the Chattanooga is more complicated by the proposal of a organization.

It’s unclear how system would actually German-style organizations don’t the adversarial relationships between and executives that unions in the States have had.

workers at Volkswagen will to decide is what benefits a would provide and if they those benefits, Visnic

But he doesn’t buy the idea that were the reason that the automakers (except for Ford) a government bailout—although he said sides could be argued.

And he that the cost of labor at manufacturers is a fairly small of the overall cost of the car, so hard to argue that costs were the sole for the Detroit downfall. But Visnic that unions did get a little too control.

And he doesn’t think VW leaders are basing their about expansion on whether the organize.

What the company is to base its decision on is where investment is going to pay off most, he

Updated @ 9:53 a.m. on for clarity.

Updated @ 11:34 on 7/15/13 to correct a factual Harr did not accompany Berke and on the trip to Germany, as originally

Updated @ 2:53 p.m.  on to add more information as it became

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