Anti-union workers sue Volkswagen, UAW over Tennessee plant

Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:38pm EDT
 
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By Amanda Becker

(Reuters) - Three anti-union Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) workers have sued the German automaker and the United Auto Workers in a U.S. court, alleging that VW and the union improperly colluded in the run-up to a union election in Tennessee that the UAW lost.

The lawsuit marks the latest fallout from a hard-fought contest at VW's plant in Chattanooga, where workers voted 712-626 last month not to join the UAW. The union is asking federal regulators to scrap that result and hold a new election.

Filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the complaint alleges VW provided "things of value" to the UAW in the unionization drive, violating the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).

VW managers helped the UAW in days leading up to the mid-February election by agreeing not to oppose its unionization drive, granting the union access to its property and allowing it to meet with employees during work hours, the lawsuit said.

The LMRA bars employers from paying or delivering a "thing of value" to the labor union representing its employees.

"UAW union officials and Volkswagen management have colluded to deprive these workers of a fair vote from the start," Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said in a statement.

"Enough is enough, which is why these workers are seeking to prevent further VW assistance to the UAW's organizing efforts," added Mix, whose Washington, D.C. area-based group launches legal actions against unions across the United States.

The group, which does not disclose the identities of its financial backers, is providing free legal counsel to the workers who filed Wednesday's lawsuit.   Continued...

 
A general view of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga,Tennessee February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry