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Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee filed a petition with the U.S. Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday to carry a union election to affix the United Auto Employees (UAW).

Employees say they need higher security provisions and extra paid break day, amongst different provisions.

“Volkswagen has spent billions of {dollars} increasing in Chattanooga, however proper now security is a significant difficulty in our plant,” mentioned one worker, Victor Vaughn, in a video released by the UAW. “Simply the opposite day, I used to be nearly hit by 4 500-plus pound crates whereas I used to be driving to ship components. That incident ought to’ve been adopted up inside the hour, however even after I clocked out, nobody requested me about it.”

The corporate mentioned it “respect[s] our staff’ proper to a democratic course of and to find out who ought to characterize their pursuits” in a press release. It added that it’s going to “totally assist an NLRB vote” and “is pleased with our working surroundings in Chattanooga that gives a number of the greatest paying jobs within the space.”

Making good on guarantees

Volkswagen is amongst 14 auto firms with vegetation throughout the U.S. which were the main target of the UAW’s latest push to arrange non-unionized workplaces. The group of firms contains Subaru, Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes, and Hyundai, amongst others. Greater than 30% of Hyundai workers in Montgomery, Alabama and Mercedes employees in the nearby city of Vance have signed union playing cards in latest weeks — an indication that petitions to carry union votes at these vegetation could possibly be filed quickly, too. Final month, the UAW announced $40 million in funding to arrange non-union staff within the auto and battery trade.

Unionization is on the up-and-up after a protracted dropping streak. The number of striking workers rose 141% in 2023, with auto staff main the cost. In the meantime, final 12 months the UAW received big concessions in new labor contracts with Massive Three U.S. automakers — Ford, Stellantis, and Normal Motors — after a six-week standoff.

The UAW goes worldwide

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant is the German firm’s solely U.S. manufacturing facility — and the one one throughout the globe with out union illustration. Two past union elections failed at the plant, with staff voting towards becoming a member of the UAW. If workers vote to affix the UAW this time, Volkswagen could be the primary overseas automotive producer to have its staff unionize.

The corporate can be one in every of many at present underneath investigation by the NLRB for unfair labor practices. Volkswagen faces 6 costs that it restricted dialogue of unionization and distribution of union supplies, maintained illegal work guidelines, and prohibited show of union paraphernalia, in line with the federal company.

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