Volkswagen confirmed Monday night it received enough employee signatures to move one step closer to a union at its Tennessee plant.
A statement from Volkswagen provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation said, “Based on the results of the verification process, the current [United Auto Workers] UAW membership meets the support requirement for Level 3. The company will reach out to the UAW in the near future to start the discussion regarding the opportunities available to them under the policy.”
This means the union can “raise questions, ideas, or concerns directly to Volkswagen management at any time.” UAW supporters can also promote the union through discussions with employees and promotional clothing, such as hats and t-shirts, as long as they do it outside of work areas and work time.
The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. has been a longtime target for the UAW. All previous attempts at unionizing, including a worker election, have failed.
Critics raised questions about the validity of the move.
Sean Moss, president of the American Council of Employees, told TheDCNF in a statement, “It seems that despite repeated requests to the contrary, Volkswagen has decided to move forward with a process that allows verification of invalid signatures, including those that were obtained by the UAW prior to the announcement of the new policy.”
“We hope for an impartial and independent accounting of the actual level of support for the UAW at VW Chattanooga,” Moss added.
“More than anything else, we want a fair and level playing field” Moss concluded. “However, if outdated or revoked authorization cards are allowed to count, the natural conclusion would be that members of VW management and the UAW have been colluding to undermine the voice of the majority of VW-Chattanooga employees.”
Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, told TheDCNF, “We’re very concerned generally at the process there.”
“The only time the workers got a vote they said no to the union,” Semmens added. “I strongly suspect all if not most of the signatures were collected before the new engagement policy.”
Semmens argued that card check is riskier than a secret ballot election because it leaves more room for unions to abuse the system. The union could mislead an employee into giving their signature thinking it is for more information or something unrelated approving the union.
“They very well may have enough signatures,” Semmens concluded. “Not that they knew what they were signing for.”
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