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Maintenance Employees Have Their Day in Court

Since December, 2015, maintenance team members have been waiting for Volkswagen to respect the decision they made in voting by more than 70% for collective bargaining. When the company refused to begin negotiations with Local 42 after the vote, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found Volkswagen in violation of the law and ordered it to begin negotiating with Local 42 immediately. But Volkswagen did not comply and instead filed a lawsuit against the NLRB.

In a Washington, DC courtroom on November 6, 2017, Volkswagen’s stall and delay tactics approached an end. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the company’s lawsuit. Volkswagen was represented by attorney Arthur Carter of the Littler Mendelson law firm.

Volkswagen’s arguments before the Court of Appeals took a surprising new turn. At the time of the 2015 vote, Volkswagen claimed that the only appropriate unit of employees for collective bargaining purposes had to include maintenance and production employees. Now, two years later, Volkswagen’s lawyer argued that the NLRB erred in approving a unit of maintenance employees from three different departments – Body, Paint and Assembly. Maintenance employees in the three departments do not work together, he claimed, and there is no history of movement of maintenance employees between the departments.

Most surprisingly, when Judge Robert L. Wilkins asked whether separate departmental bargaining units of maintenance employees would be appropriate, Volkswagen’s lawyer answered yes. In other words, while the company originally claimed the bargaining unit should be as large as possible, now they said multiple smaller bargaining units make sense.

The NLRB was represented by attorney Joel Heller, and attorney Matthew Ginsburg represented the union. The Court is expected to issue its decision in the coming months.

Stand Together and Be Heard!

In February 2014, by the slimmest of margins, we lost our first bid for our own Union here at Volkswagen. Considering the intense outside interference and unprecedented political intimidation, the closeness of the vote was, in itself, a small victory.

However, this is the question we must ask ourselves now:

“Since 2014, has our situation at Volkswagen gotten better… or worse?”

In the last Team meeting, we found out that our performance was the absolute worst among all Volkswagen plants worldwide.

Is that more our fault… or management’s? Are we responsible for mechanical issues or is management responsible for insuring the equipment performs as it should? Are we responsible for parts shortages or is management responsible for insuring we have the parts to assemble vehicles? Are we responsible for worker shortages or is management responsible for maintaining an adequate workforce to meet labor demands?

How does it make you feel to know that managers, supervisors, and office workers ALL received their bonus while ours was cut by as much as 75%? How does it make you feel to know that we weren’t told until the day our ‘bonus’ was paid out?

Volkswagen’s business model relies heavily on worker feedback and interaction with management. It relies on workers being involved in management decisions. And it involves having a system of representation for workers that keeps management in check.

Our plant has NONE of this. And it shows.

Last place… Think about it.

Stand Together and Be Heard!

UAW Local 42 Update – 09/17

Greetings Fellow Volkswagen Team Members,

During our time in RB1 several of you have mentioned that “we can’t wait for the union to come into the plant.” Well the reality is that the Union is in the plant and, we’ve been here since July of 2014. We are one of the fastest growing Locals in Region 8. We meet with Volkswagen management every 2 weeks to discuss our issues and concerns to try to find solutions. There are many issues to discuss with management but one that affects all of our jobs is quality. Local 42 is asking every worker to please take pride in your work. Our very future depends on us doing our very best to build the best quality vehicle we can.

Working together to improve quality makes all of our futures brighter; the future for our families, and the future for our plant. Let’s show management that despite negative efforts they have made on many issues, we will step up our collective efforts to build a great car. In return, management must start treating us with the respect we all deserve.

Electronic Sign Up – Local 42 has made it very simple to join our Union. Just go to local42.org on your mobile device and sign the electronic Authorization card. It’s as easy as sitting on your couch and joining UAW Local 42 as we continue our effort to secure all Volkswagen workers a collective bargaining agreement.

Pizza with Local 42 – Please stop by the Volkswagen Conference Center on Thursday September 14 from 2:30 until 6:30 pm and enjoy a slice of pizza and a cold drink. UAW Organizers and Local 42 Elected officials and members will be on hand for Q and A.

Local 42 Second Annual Sportsman’s Dinner – Sunday, November 5th, from 4:00 pm until 9:00 pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. This is a great event put on by the membership of Local 42, tickets will go on sale very soon and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.

In Solidarity,

Steve Cochran
President UAW Local 42

Local 42 Future Events:

• Sunday, September 10, Local 42 Union Meeting at 3922 Volunteer Drive, Chattanooga, TN at 4:00pm.

• Thursday, September 14, Pizza and Drinks in the Conference Center, 2:30 – 6:30pm.

• Sunday, November 5, Local 42 Sportsman’s Dinner. 4:00 – 9:00pm with dinner served at 6:30pm.

• Sunday, November 12, Local 42 Union Meeting at 3922 Volunteer Drive, Chattanooga, TN at 4:00 pm.

Our offices are located in the IBEW Hall at 3922 Volunteer Drive, Chattanooga, Suites 4 & 7. Office phone: (423) 893-0577. Hours: 9am – 6pm, Monday – Friday.

Volkswagen Mexico agrees to a 6.5% salary increase with union

Volkswagen de México and its union reached an agreement in wage negotiations, with a direct increase of 5%, 1% to the savings fund and 0.5% in grocery vouchers, as well as 250 positions for temporary workers.

Thus, the strike called for August 18, at 11:00 am, at the plant located in the municipality of Cuautlancingo is canceled.

The latest negotiations between the company and the Independent Volkswagen Workers’ Union of Mexico (Sitiavw), headed by Rey David García Avendaño, were held at the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security (STPS) in Mexico City .

According to the brief statement issued by the German firm, the commitment is made to strengthen the efficiency and productivity indicators, which generate the conditions for attracting new projects for the benefit of the company and its collaborators.

This agreement isurpasses 4.5% increase obtained in 2016 by the almost 10,000 permanent workers, which was an overall increase of 4.5% and is the highest increase in the last seven years.

In 2010, they achieved 6.09%; In 2011, 6%; During 2012 and 2013, reached 5%; while in 2014 it was 5.27% and in 2015, Sitiavw was given 4.5%.

Mario Bueno, a spokesman for the union, described the agreement as positive, exceeding expectations, since last Wednesday, they lowered their proposal from 12 to 9.5% and the company increased its counterproposal from 2 to 2.5 percent.

New Officers Elected To Lead Local 42

Members of Local 42 have voted in new officers to lead the union for the next three years. The new officers are:

President:                                     Steve Cochran
Vice President:                             David Gleeson
Financial Secretary Treasurer:     Roger Dalton
Recording Secretary:                   Billy Quigg
Trustees:                                      Troy Hunt, Joe Herron, Marc Lemmon
Guide:                                           Frank Stewart
Sergeant at Arms:                         Bishop Knight

Thanks to all who ran for office and all those who got out and voted, for keeping our union strong. Special thanks to the Local 42 Election Committee for running a smooth election.

Slovakia Workers’ Strike Successful

A united workforce at Volkswagen’s Bratislava plant won higher wage increases than proposed by management after a six-day strike that concluded Monday, June 26. Reuters news agency reported that the agreement reached by the Modern Union Volkswagen (MOV) and Volkswagen Slovakia (VW SK) resulted in a 4.7% wage increase effective immediately, another 4.7% increase in January 2018, 4.1% in November 2018, and a 500 Euro bonus as of June 1, 2017. Union leader Zoroslav Smolinsky said the combined effect of the increases totals 14.12% with the bonus factored in. Volkswagen’s proposed wage hikes totaled 8.7% before the strike was called June 20.

“We’re ending the strike with a very successful negotiation. We managed to agree on a combined wage hike of 14.12 percent by November 2018, “ Smolinsky said. “I would like to thank all of those who participated in the strike, as well as those who supported it,” he added. “Without their effort, we would not achieve this success.”

News for Abroad … VW Workers in Slovakia Take a Stand

For the first time in the 26-year history of Volkswagen in Slovakia, workers at the production plant in Bratislava have gone on strike for better wages. According to the Reuters news agency, production lines stopped on Tuesday, June 20 as about 70 percent of the 12,300 employees stopped work.

In a development that U.S. workers might find surprising, politicians in Slovakia supported the union’s efforts to improve conditions at the plant. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico expressed his support for the striking VW workers, stating “why should a company making one of the highest quality and most luxurious cars with a high labor productivity pay its Slovak workers half or one-third of the amount it pays to the same workers in western Europe?” Volkswagen’s western Europe plants are primarily located in Germany, with others in Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Reuters reported that production of the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Volkswagen up!, Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and bodies for the Porsche Cayenne had come to a halt. VW workers in Slovakia produced over 388,000 cars in 2016.

Slovakia is located in central Europe, surrounded by Austria, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Bratislava, the nation’s capital, is about 500 miles from Wolfsburg, Germany.