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UAW, NLRB declare victory in vote at Chattanooga VW plant


Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly shared his thoughts on Volkswagen Chattanooga’s unionization via Facebook Saturday afternoon:

This decision was always the workers’ to make, and the decision to unionize was clear. Chattanooga has a long history of constructive labor-management relationships, and unions have contributed significantly to the success of our city and the growth of our middle class, proving that what’s good for workers can also be good for business and good for the community. I’m hopeful that this new era of leadership at the UAW works in good faith with VW leadership to build a better VW and a better Chattanooga, for the benefit of all of us. I stand ready to help fulfill that promise in any way that I can.


Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp opposed President Joe Biden’s remarks in a statement issued via Facebook Saturday morning:

Every single foreign auto plant that the UAW has unionized has closed, but that doesn’t stop the White House from celebrating a big political victory. By contrast, Volkswagen has thrived here without them. Now that the UAW won in Chattanooga, I hope they will at least learn from our success as they try to overcome their reputation for job corruption and job losses.


Late Friday, President Joe Biden issued a statement congratulating Volkswagen Chattanooga workers’ decision to join the UAW:

Congratulations to the workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on their historic vote for union representation with the United Auto Workers. I was proud to stand alongside auto workers in their successful fight for record contracts, and I am proud to stand with auto workers now as they successfully organize at Volkswagen. Across the country, union members have logged major wins and large raises, including auto workers, actors, port workers, Teamsters, writers, warehouse and health care workers, and more. Together, these union wins have helped raise wages and demonstrate once again that the middle-class built America and that unions are still building and expanding the middle class for all workers.

Six Republican governors wrote a letter attempting to influence workers’ votes by falsely claiming that a successful vote would jeopardize jobs in their states. Let me be clear to the Republican governors that tried to undermine this vote: there is nothing to fear from American workers using their voice and their legal right to form a union if they so choose. In fact, the growing strength of unions over the last year has gone hand-in-hand with record small business and jobs growth alongside the longest stretch of low unemployment in more than 50 years. I will continue to stand with American workers and stand against Republican’s effort to weaken workers’ voice.


The National Labor Relations Board declared victory at 11:03 Friday night via email:

Tonight, NLRB Region 10-Atlanta conduced a ballot count for Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, TN to decide whether to be represented by the United Auto Workers. The workers voted 2,628 to 985 for union representation. There were seven challenged ballots that won’t be counted, because they aren’t determinative to the outcome of the election. There were three void ballots. The total number of eligible voters was 4,326.


The UAW has declared victory in that vote at Chattanooga’s VW plant.

We are waiting for the vote numbers from the NLRB.

Watch our digital studio stream discussing the results:


Polls have closed and the UAW watch party is underway at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

We are awaiting the final results.


After two failed attempts for unionization, the 4,300 workers at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant have a chance to change the outcome from an ongoing 10 year battle.

Friday we spoke to a local Economic expert who says this vote could be felt nationwide.

“The UAW is definitely a more confrontational union,” Howard Wall says.

As the Volkswagen votes are being tallied…

“There won’t be radical differences. But over time, you’ll see that they might get a new contract with different terms,” Wall says.

Howard Wall, director of the Center for Regional Economic Research at UTC, says for the time being, not much will change.

“It’s really like long term plans for Volkswagen on whether they expand, you know. They have a choice of where to produce things, where to, you know, open new factories, or where to say, bring other types of operations,” Wall says.

But after a failed attempt of unionization back in 2014…

“The city of Detroit has been affected very negatively by the UAW and the things they have done. We don’t want that at Chattanooga.”

And then again in 2019…

“I have a great job. I have great insurance. I am taken care of. I am able to pay my bills.”

One UAW worker says she expects voting results to go a different way this year.

“The crowd is a lot younger, they’re motivated and have changed their minds.”

In order to join the United Auto Workers a 50-percent of the workers plus one vote is needed.

Back In 2014, 47 percent of workers voted yes. And in 2019, 48 percent voted yes.

“I believe it would be a big mistake for those workers to risk their future by giving up their freedom to decide it themselves and hand that over to a negotiator on their behalf,” Governor Bill Lee says.

Last fall, Volkswagen raised factory pay by 11%.

“I mean, there are some positive things you can get, like greater training or that sort of stuff. But all in all, efficiency gains are not what they’re about,” Wall says.

Volkswagen has said in statements that it supports the right to vote on union representation, but is staying neutral in the election. They are urging workers to vote however they want.

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