To:Management Volkswagen Chattanooga, Tennessee
Recommendation after UAW vote
Backgroundof the information
Themajority of Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, votedagainst joining the United Auto Workers (UAW). For workers to rejectthe union, this shows there is likelihood that they may not besatisfied by the union’s initiative, or feel that the union willnot air their grievances properly. As a result, VW management hasthree options for action going forward.
Appealingto the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for permission to beginforming a worker/management council even in the absence of unionrepresentation for the workers is the first option. The advantage ofthis alternative is that with the council improved flow ofinformation between management and workers is achieved. The otherbenefit is that the employees will have more say regarding corporatedecisions. With or without a union, the workers should be allowed toform any cooperation. However, this alternative has its negativesince according to labor laws a non-union company is prohibited fromsetting up such as council.
Thesecond option is to lobby the state legislature not to enact and thegovernor not to sign, punitive legislation, and politicians from themayor to the U.S senator from Tennessee not to interfere with therelationship with employees and to prepare for another union electionin a year. Lobbying has its advantages where the organization will bemaking an effort to influence legislation for the betterment ofemployees. However, lobbying is associated with ethical dilemmas andlobbyists as well as lawmakers tend to undermine its transparency andfairness, and viewed as not for the common good.
Thelast option is to make it clear to the state legislators, the mayor,and the governor and U.S senators that if they interfere with nextyear’s election, Volkswagen will build another U.S plant in a lesshostile state and shift work away from the Tennessee plant withinfive years. This option sounds like a threat. Moral principles shouldbe considered when making any decision in this organization.
Clearly,Volkswagen works council is determined to continue with its effort ofsetting up labor representation in this region. Therefore, theproposed option in this case is for Volkswagen to appeal to the NLRBfor permission to begin forming a worker/management council, even inthe absence of union representation for the workers.