U.S. News


Workers At Tenn. VW Plant Vote Against Unionizing

After more than 1,000 votes were cast, employees at a Tenn. Volkswagen plant voted down a plan to become members of the United Auto Workers Friday.
Posted at 12:40 PM, Feb 15, 2014

After more than 1,000 votes were cast, employees at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant voted down a plan to become members of the United Auto Workers union Friday — a move that would have made it the first foreign-owned auto company in a union in the U.S.

"Just 86 votes tipping the scale against it. The move is considered a big loss for the UAW which has had a lot of trouble trying to represent workers at any foreign owned plant in the South." (Via WSMV)

Forbes calls the vote the union's "most crushing defeat in a generation."

It's a new blow to the union that has lost a staggering 75 percent of its membership since 1979. (Via Fox News)

And, unfortunately for the UAW, some say this defeat is a sign of things to come for the struggling auto union.

An economics professor told The Wall Street Journal: "If the union can't win [in Chattanooga], it can't win anywhere."

So why did the vote fail? According to CNN, a lot of it has to do with problems seen at other automakers back in 2008 when both GM and Chrysler got federal bailouts. But, CNN adds those two companies and Ford are now seeing "strong profits."

The UAW argues it can help bring higher wages for its members through collective bargaining. But critics worried the move could end up driving business out of the state.

So the no-vote has been met with praise by some of the state's highest ranking Republican leaders who openly opposed the unionization. In a statement, U.S. Senator Bob Corker said he was "thrilled" that the UAW won't be representing the plant. (Via Office of Sen. Bob Corker)

But President Obama said Corker and other Republican leaders who were against it were ​“more concerned about German shareholders than American workers.” (Via Politico)

According to the Los Angeles Times, this isn't the end of it between the UAW and the VW plant. It's likely the UAW could challenge the vote with the National Labor Relations Board because of comments from Senator Corker and other leaders that might have swayed the employees' decision.