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Auto Union Urges Volkswagen to Accept Labor Board Ruling on Chattanooga Plant

September 1, 2016

New 2012 VW Passat First Drive And Factory TourNew 2012 VW Passat First Drive And Factory Tour
Line inspection workers check out a Volkswagen AG 2012 Passat at the company's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. Photograph by Mark Elias — Bloomberg via Getty Images

The United Auto Workers (UAW) urged Volkswagen to accept the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) latest order that requires the carmaker to collectively bargain with UAW local union as the representative of a portion of workers at its Tennessee plant.

The NLRB on Aug. 26 ordered Volkswagen Group of America among other things to recognize and bargain with UAW, Local 42, as the exclusive collective-bargaining representative of the employees in the bargaining unit.

“This unanimous decision makes it clear that the company has been operating in violation of federal law by refusing to come to the bargaining table,” said Gary Casteel, UAW secretary-treasurer, in a statement.

“We urge Volkswagen to accept the NLRB order and bargain with the local union at the earliest possible date.”

VW officials were not immediately available for comment late Wednesday.

Volkswagen has said earlier that it will go to a U.S. federal appeals court in an effort to keep the UAW union from representing a portion of the company’s plant workers in Chattanooga.

Late last year, a majority of the maintenance, or skilled trades, workers at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted to be represented by the UAW.

The vote marked a rare victory for the union in the U.S. South, where it has fought many unsuccessful battles to organize non-unionized auto plants.

Volkswagen was at one time welcoming to the UAW at Chattanooga. But that was before the union lost a closely contested election open to all of the plant’s 1,500 workers in February 2014.