UAW Opponents to Form Own Union at Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant

Kelly Pleskot
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The United Auto Workers (UAW) has finally set up shop in Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, but VW employees who oppose the labor union want to form a union of their own, Reuters reports.

The proposed new union will be the first chapter of the American Council of Employees, and according to leaders, it will operate differently than the UAW, which established a local chapter in Chattanooga last month. Those who oppose the UAW at the plant say it makes U.S. automakers less competitive.

Employee Mike Burton is leading the efforts to create the new union. Just six months ago, he helped defeat UAW's efforts to represent hourly workers in Chattanooga. In a 712-626 vote, anti-union workers gained a decisive victory, but the UAW then filed an appeal. Since the February vote, more workers have come over to the UAW's side, and Burton hopes the new union can force VW to hold another vote to decide which union employees want.

Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, told Reuters he doesn't think the new union will do well because VW has already agreed it will recognize the local UAW chapter in Chattanooga. The UAW said it has "substantially more than 700 members" at the plant that employs 1500 hourly workers. Burton, on the other hand, had only collected 108 signatures as of Monday.

The VW Chattanooga plant currently produces the Passat sedan and will start building a new seven-seat crossover in the near future.

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