Volkswagen Employees Look for Ways to Have a Say in The Plant's Future

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle

Reported by: Bill Mitchell
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Updated: 2/17/2014 6:46 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) - The United Auto Workers union is no longer in the game after Volkswagen employees had their say last week.
It was a bitter defeat for the Detroit-based union.
And by law it can't begin another campaign for a year.
But saying no to the U-A-W doesn't necessarily mean there won't be an employee/management council.

Former Hamilton county mayor Claude Ramsey summed it up: "I'm not against unions..just the UAW!"
He and others are reflecting on last week's collective bargaining election at Volkswagen.

CLAUDE RAMSEY, FORMER HAMILTON CO. MAYOR "You know labor and management working together has been the American way of doing things for a long time. Every successful business does that . I think there's an opportunity for VW to put together something like a works council ...It may be a works council."

The point being that there are already plans to give Volkswagen's hourly employees a voice in what happens at the plant. Even the group who lead the fight against the UAW are looking that way now.

MIKE BURTON, V-W TEAM MEMBER, ANTI-UAW GROUP "We're creating a team of folks that want to have an organization that will interface with management an effective way ..And we've got some of the best minds working on it."

That may mean a campaign to form an in-house union.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker predicted such a move before the vote.

SEN.BOB CORKER, (R) Tennessee "I know that Volkswagen management would be very open ...very open to employees here ..If they really wanted collective bargaining to form their own union."

The question now is what kind of mechanism will it take?

MAURY NICELY, ATTORNEY FOR ANTI-UAW GROUP "It depends on how you define union. Certainly there's nothing that prevents Volkswagen from establishing committees and some of these works council like activities..which wouldn't be a for a formal union, that will take time."

Volkswagen has works council at all of its other plants around the world...and hoped for one here. There are still legal questions about whether there can be a works council without a formal union.

The discussion is taking place at many levels as the 1500 hourly employees get back to work building cars.

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