IG Metall Expresses Support for Chattanooga
As the German autoworkers’ union IG Metall continued to negotiate with German carmakers, 20,000 workers at Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg walked away from production lines for two hours to express their determination for a fair collective bargaining agreement. In all, a half million workers have participated in three days of strikes at German assembly plants, parts suppliers and other metal shops.
At Volkswagen, IG Metall is demanding a 6 percent pay raise, improvements in their pension plan, and a guarantee for apprentices to be employed after their examination.
Volkswagen’s refusal to collectively bargain with Local 42 in Chattanooga was highlighted by IG Metall in rallies and demonstrations around the country. As the third round of talks with VW got underway on January 30 in Hannover, Germany, 5000 union members rallied to support their bargaining team. Several carried a banner that read “VW Workers in Chattanooga Need a Collective Agreement!” IG Metall Regional Director Thorsten Groeger noted Volkswagen’s behavior in his speech to the crowd:
“Colleagues, while collective bargaining here in Germany between IG Metall and Volkswagen is a normal thing, such negotiations are denied our colleagues in the VW plant in Chattanooga. Volkswagen even refuses to recognize a legitimately elected labor union. It is a scandal that on this entire planet Chattanooga is the only plant without union representation!”
The next day, with no agreement reached, thousands of VW workers engaged in 2-hour strikes around the country. At the VW Kassel-Baunatal plant, over 6,000 workers participated and cheered IGM Local President Oliver Dietzel when he declared:
“While we are struggling to reach a collective agreement, our colleagues in the US, in Chattanooga, are also fighting for a collective bargaining agreement. But there, Volkswagen completely refuses. And colleagues, again, we say: they are not alone! They have our solidarity – and also there we expect from management: Come to your senses! Talk to the colleagues! Because we want decent, collectively negotiated working conditions there as well.”
Auto workers across Germany continue to demonstrate their resolve to share in the extraordinary success of their companies. IG Metall has offered to return to the bargaining table if the employers are serious about agreeing to a fair contract. In the meantime, the union is preparing to hold a vote on calling an open-ended strike.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.