CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted Friday night against forming a factory-wide union, handing a setback to the United Auto Workers’ efforts to gain a foothold among foreign auto facilities in the South.
The vote of hourly workers began Wednesday and concluded Friday. Preliminary results show 833 employees voted against representation and 776 voted for it, the German automaker said in a statement. VW said about 93% of the roughly 1,700 eligible employees voted.
“Our employees have spoken,” Frank Fischer, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said in the company statement.
He said results are pending certification by the National Labor Relations Board and legal review. Fischer said the company looks forward to “continuing our close cooperation with elected officials and business leaders in Tennessee.”
Volkswagen has union representation at all of its other major plants worldwide.
A win in Chattanooga would have offered the United Auto Workers its first fully organized, foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the traditionally anti-union South. UAW officials have questioned why Chattanooga should differ from Volkswagen’s other union-represented plants worldwide, or Spring Hill, Tennessee’s General Motors plant with 3,000 UAW-represented workers.
UAW organizing director Tracy Romero said she was proud of the pro-union voters at the plant.
“The company ran a brutal campaign of fear and misinformation,” Romero said in a statement, adding that the automaker tried to make workers afraid of losing the plant and suffer other repercussions.
Tennessee Gov. Bill
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