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Volkswagen To Workers: Just Let It Happen

An advocacy group suspicious of the unionizing process at the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee filed a Freedom of Information Act request Thursday.

The National Right to Work Foundation filed the FOIA request in the hopes of uncovering what connection the Department of Labor has with two German labor organizations believed to have played a huge role in the ongoing unionization campaign at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“The Foundation’s FOIA request seeks to uncover any communications between the Department of Labor, VW’s Global Works Council, and the IG Metall union,” NRTW noted in a press release. “Foundation staff attorneys hope to determine if the Department of Labor is actively assisting these organizations in their efforts to unionize VW’s Chattanooga facilities.”

Additionally, in November 2014 NRTW president Mark Mix submitted a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. The letter asked the Labor Department to require both German labor organizations to comply with American labor law and disclose their relationship with the UAW.

Since that time, NRTW has not received a substantive response from the Labor Department. Additionally, neither German group has filed a mandated disclosure report.

“VW’s Global Works Council and IG Metall, a German autoworker union, were both prominent supporters of the UAW’s organizing drive,” NRTW noted. “However, neither organization divulged the extent of their involvement in Chattanooga to the Department of Labor, despite the fact that their high-profile support for the UAW should have triggered disclosure requirements under the LMRA.”

“Although a majority of Chattanooga workers voted against the UAW in a secret ballot election last February, the UAW and its German backers have continued to push for unionization,” NRTW continued.

NRTW also noted, “Furthermore, UAW officials have refused to abide by an agreement they signed with VW not to engage in organizing activities at the facility for one year if workers voted against them.”

Many have been suspicious of the process and how UAW has gone about trying to unionize the Volkswagen employees and who might be supporting them in secret.

Despite their workers turning them down in a previous election, Volkswagen has continued to support the UAW in their attempt to unionize the plant. In November, several months after the failed union election, the company established a Community Organization Engagement policy which some feel unfairly benefits the union.

In a statement, Volkswagen argued, “The policy establishes a method to assure fair and equal treatment of all groups through a process that is transparent, respectful and consistent. Its purpose is to allow eligible organizations the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue with Volkswagen and its employees.”

The policy established three levels of engagement relative to the Volkswagen employees represented. In a sense, the more employees the union can get to sign up, the more privileges they receive from the company.

After the union managed to get the highest level of representation, critics became concerned that a significant amount of the signatures they got from employees were invalid.

American Council of Employees president Sean Moss argued in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation, “It seems that despite repeated requests to the contrary, Volkswagen has decided to move forward with a process that allows verification of invalid signatures, including those that were obtained by the UAW prior to the announcement of the new policy.”

“More than anything else, we want a fair and level playing field,” Moss noted.

Moss concluded, “However, if outdated or revoked authorization cards are allowed to count, the natural conclusion would be that members of VW management and the UAW have been colluding to undermine the voice of the majority of VW-Chattanooga employees.”

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