How VW Workers Could Still Get A Voice After A Vote To Unionize Failed… — Volkswagen Worker

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How VW Workers Could Still Get A After A Vote To Unionize



On late night, election results that the majority of workers at a (VW) plant in Chattanooga, voted against joining the Automobile Workers (UAW) The election was close, with 626 in favor and 712 opposed .

But that mean workers have the chance to organize and be heard at workplace. While unions, negotiate pay and benefits with are familiar in the United States, the has yet to see European-style “works councils,” but VW to bring one to Tennessee. These are a formal structure in which and management can discuss the company’s and business plans as well as to improve productivity and safety on the floor. They are common in — so common, in fact, that VW plant has a works council the one in Tennessee. VW’s policy workers to have a say in things impact work rules and the environment while management them in business decisions.

After Friday’s vote, the will still push with its plans to create a council. In a statement emailed to Frank Fischer, head of the said, “Our goal to be to determine the best method for a works council ,” adding, “We great enthusiasm for the idea of an works council both and outside our plant.”

The challenge at home is that American law prohibits a formal works if it is created by management, rather by a union or the workers themselves. The Labor Relations Act “forbids an from dominating or impermissibly a labor organization, and a labor is any kind of representation committee or Matthew Finkin, a professor of law at the University of Illinois, explained to if the purpose is, even in part, wages, hours, and working

But there are other forms a council might take at the VW that would stay on the side of the law. That include “informal employee groups like quality or team-based workplace systems,” A. Kochan, a professor of management and of the Institute for Work and Employment at the MIT Sloan School of Management, ThinkProgress, in which the groups make recommendations about how to their work environment and It could also include forces that are put together by the that ask employees to give recommendations on anything from with work schedules to to work family issues or bottlenecks,” he pointed out. safety and health committees are used and are probably not violating law.” So long as they touch on wages, hours, or conditions, VW can set these structures up. But it up being a “swiss cheese” to stay clear of labor Finkin added.

The possibility still remains for the of a formal works council, the ability to talk about as well as pay, if it were to be set up by UAW or the themselves. Those who voted in of unionizing may still want structure and could work UAW to create a constitution for the committee and it to their employer. UAW itself do it, but might be difficult for it to pour resources into the situation a failed fight.

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Volkswagen wants the structure in its plant, saying a works council in the would be based on “positive with them elsewhere. It realizes that businesses can benefits from these Works councils in Germany been shown to enhance adaptability and cooperation ,” as Kochan and wrote recently. A paper the 1990s found that councils can produce new solutions to the that face a company making workers more to communicate with management and to a longer view of the company’s and investments in their own skills.

Workers can also experience Formalized works councils require that management real information with workers. And workers are interested in a collaborative relationship with that includes some to influence decisions, as David director of the American Worker at the Center for American Progress, told ThinkProgress .

There is a of course, that the company feel a need to heed input. But while they voted down a union time, that could be the if they end up feeling frustrated being heard. “Say you this group dealing some issue, and [management] says I don’t give a what you say about this, I’m the Richard Freeman, Herbert professor of economics at Harvard told ThinkProgress. “You’ll end up something like a union” so workers can get some respect and

While unions struggle to at a time when their numbers keep dropping. councils, or similar informal have the potential to catch on. “I it has tremendous potential to spread far and in the United States,” Madland Many multinational companies are to engaging with their in this way.

One way to speed process along would be to labor laws so that works councils would be in the absence of a union. American law “is so out of date that we need to ways to let workers have an to choose the form of representation want, whether formal bargaining or some type of council like this,” said. The problem is the politics, as law reform isn’t likely to any time soon. In the meantime, VW will push forward and try to a way to bring the voices of their into the mix.

Volkswagen Worker
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Volkswagen Worker
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