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Union, Volkswagen Leaders To Meet In Germany To Resolve Ongoing Labor Dispute

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Volkswagen will meet with union leadership in Germany this month in hopes of resolving an ongoing labor dispute at its Tennessee plant, sources said Monday.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) has faced adamant opposition from the automaker over its unionizing tactics. The union successfully organized a subgroup of 164 skilled workers Dec. 4, but the automaker rejected its workforce being split between union and nonunion. The two sides will meet in Germany in an effort to resolve the dispute, a union representative told Reuters.

Volkswagen is a multinational automaker but its main offices reside in Germany where the company was founded. Its Tennessee plant was originally very much open to a unionized workforce much like the rest of the company, but that quickly changed when the union failed to get a majority vote. The union moved to split the workforce by targeting which workers it could get in its ranks.

Volkswagen has instead advocated for a full vote of the more than 1,400 plant workers. There has also been concern over the timing of the unionization drive. The American Council of Employees (ACE) expressed concern in a Dec. 3 letter that the union was trying to take advantage of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. ACE has positioned itself as an alternative to the UAW.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleges the company intentionally programmed car engines to not properly detect emissions. About a month after the EPA complaint, the union filed paperwork with the NLRB seeking a union election. The scandal has garnered the automaker international backlash.

Volkswagen has adamantly opposed the election and the request to review it was dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board. The automaker is now looking to appeal the decision.

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