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Why should I join a union?
Unions have played, and continue to play, a critical role in helping Tennessee workers secure fair wages, adequate health care and retirement benefits, workplace safety assurances, and other improvements associated with a stable workplace and decent quality of life. Through UAW Local 42, Volkswagen employees have a voice in issues that affect them. Local 42 also is the opportunity for Chattanooga to become part of the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, the influential body of employees representing worker interests around the world. Currently, the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga is the company’s only facility in the world not represented on the Global Group.

How is a union different than a German-style works council?
The two are complementary. UAW Local 42 represents employee interests in the plant, and a works council would include representation from union leaders as well as unrepresented employees. Volkswagen’s top officials have noted that a works council can only exist under U.S. law with the involvement of a union — and they have said the union in Chattanooga should be Local 42. The Volkswagen Global Group Works Council and IG Metall, the UAW’s German counterpart, have expressed their desire for Chattanooga to be a “UAW-represented facility.” For more information, read the UAW-Volkswagen Works Council Documents

Does Volkswagen recognize UAW Local 42?
Volkswagen has verified the membership of UAW Local 42 at the highest level under the company’s Community Organization Engagement policy. Under this policy, the leadership of Local 42 meets every two weeks with Volkswagen Human Resources and meets monthly with the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee to discuss matters of concern to employees, including shift scheduling and plant safety. The local union is seeking to move toward collective bargaining with the company in the future.

What is collective bargaining?
The National Labor Relations Board describes collective bargaining as an effort between an employer and employees to “bargain in good faith about wages, hours, vacation time, insurance, safety practices and other subjects.” Collective bargaining is a common practice between employees and employers in the U.S.

Does UAW Local 42 charge membership dues?
UAW Local 42 members will not pay dues until the local union reaches a contract with Volkswagen through collective bargaining. When a contract is reached, Local 42 will establish a dues structure consistent with UAW local dues structures around the country. Of dues collected by UAW local unions, the vast majority of funds remain with the local union to support local activities, initiatives and expenses. UAW member dues do not go to political campaigns.

Critics claim unions hurt job creation. Is that true?
No. Consider recent history. In July 2014, four days after Volkswagen employees established UAW Local 42, the company announced the addition of a new SUV product line at the Chattanooga plant. Volkswagen knew about employees’ interest in launching a union and joining co-workers from around the world in achieving employee representation and co-determination with management, consistent with the company’s successful global business practices. On the heels of the new product line, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that parts suppliers are adding another 1,000 jobs in the region — with more spin-off jobs on the way. Meanwhile, 140 miles up the road, General Motors and Spring Hill, Tenn., have benefitted from more than two decades of UAW presence. Learn more at

How can I join UAW Local 42?
It’s easy. Contact the UAW Local 42 office using the email form at the bottom of the web site’s home page. Or just talk with a co-worker who’s already a member of Local 42 – they can help you join. When you sign a membership card, you’re automatically a member.