The United Auto Workers union has gained a significant first victory at a foreign-owned automaker in the South, easily winning a vote by skilled-trades workers at Volkswagen's lone U.S. factory to have the UAW negotiate their collective bargaining agreements.
The workers who repair and maintain machinery and robots at the German automaker's plant in Chattanooga voted 108-44 for UAW representation over two days ending Friday.
Volkswagen objected to the new vote favoring the UAW to represent just 162 skilled-trades workers, arguing that all of the plant's 1,400 blue-collar workers should have a say over union issues. The German automaker said it plans to appeal the ruling allowing the vote to the full National Labor Relations Board.
"We believe that a union of only maintenance employees fractures our workforce and does not take into account the overwhelming community of interest shared between our maintenance and production employees," the company said in a statement.