Volkswagen Rejects UAW, Workers at Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant may have voted against joining the United Auto Workers union last week but they may still gain some representation in the company through the formation of a works council.
Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga and manager of the plant, emphasized on Friday night that while the workers voted against the UAW they did not vote down the idea of a works council. “Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant,” Fischer said. “Our goal continues to be to determine the best method for establishing a works council in accordance with the requirements of U.S. labor law.”
The power of such a council, which would be a first of its kind in the United States, would be very limited under U.S. labor law. It could be consulted only on some limited matters rather than negotiate with management on working conditions. And some labor experts say if the workers want to participate in a works council they may have to set up their own independent union to avoid the perception of a company-organized union, which is not allowed under the law.