- Over half of autoworkers at Volkswagen Group’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have signed union authorization cards, the United Auto Workers union announced Tuesday.
- The news comes less than two months after some Volkswagen employees announced their campaign to establish a union at the automaker’s sole U.S. assembly plant.
- The Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant is the first non-union automotive plant in the U.S. to announce majority support to form a union since the UAW won major concessions from the Big Three automakers last fall, according to the UAW.
The organizing efforts at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee are part of a larger UAW effort to unionize almost 150,000 non-union autoworkers at 13 companies.
Several automakers, including Volkswagen, have raised wages for autoworkers in the U.S. in recent months as non-union autoworkers clamor for better compensation and working conditions. In November, Volkswagen boosted wages by 11% for employees at the Chattanooga plant and reduced the time required to reach the top of the pay scale. The changes began to take effect in December.
However, the nationwide union drive has picked up steam recently as more than 30% of autoworkers at Hyundai Motor Group’s assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, and Mercedes-Benz Group’s assembly plant in Vance, Alabama, signed union cards.
In December, some autoworkers filed unfair labor practice complaints against Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen, alleging union-busting activities.
Employees at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant say they have faced harassment, the confiscation and destruction of pro-union materials, and bans on workers distributing union literature or discussing union issues in non-work areas on non-work time, according to the UAW.
Volkswagen previously denied the allegations, saying that it respects its workers’ right to organize. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Volkswagen Chattanooga plant employs about 5,500 people and assembles the Volkswagen ID.4, Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport.