BREAKING: Trump NLRB Places Hold on Union Election at VW as UAW Cries Foul

In the latest twist to efforts to sabotage the union drive at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the NLRB has placed a hold on the union election at Volkswagen. In a 2-1 decision issued late Friday with only Democrat Lauren McFerran dissenting, the NLRB has placed a hold on the UAW’s attempt to hold a union election at Volkswagen. 

The hold doesn’t mean that the union election will be blocked but does delay the election until more legal briefs can be heard.  The delay could help the company as they seek to turn up pressure on workers to vote union. (see Payday’s exclusive “Union-Buster Rick Berman on His Anti-UAW Strategy at VW in Chattanooga”)

Volkswagen has argued that since 160 maintenance workers at the plant voted to unionize in 2015, a new union election can’t be held for that group of workers as well as production workers until a decertification vote is held to first decertify that union; a process that could take more than a year.

The move strikes the UAW as hypocritical since Volkswagen refused to recognize the union and bargain with that smaller union; insisting that they would only bargain with a union that represented all 2,000 maintenance and production workers at the plant. For nearly three years, Volkswagen has argued that the Obama era rules that allowed only maintenance workers to vote were a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The UAW has already withdrawn their petition for the union of 160 maintenance workers. However, Volkswagen is arguing that under federal another union election can’t be held unit a decertification vote; possibly delaying the election until 2020.

The UAW immediately denounced the decision.

“Chattanooga workers deserve a right to vote, they deserve the right to vote on the very same bargaining rights as every other VW workers in the world They should have that vote,” said UAW spokesperson Brian Rothenberg in a statement to Payday Report.

It’s unclear what effect the delay may have on the union’s chances in Chattanooga. The delay could sabotage the union’s change, but it could also turn workers against the company.

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered everything from Lula & the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball. He spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian and was labeled by the New York Times as an "abrasive gadfly" for exposing within the labor movement. Raised in a UE union family in Pittsburgh, Elk was illegally for union organizing at Politico in 2015 and used his NLRB settlement to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and is fluent in both Pittsburghese and Portuguese, which he learned when attending journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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