Here’s how the UAW’s hoped-for ‘quickie election’ may have been stymied by the UAW’s own prior unionization attempt.
When the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier this month to hold an election at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, the UAW was likely hoping to have a ‘quickie election.’
In its initial filing, the UAW had requested for the NLRB to conduct an election to be held on April 29 and 30.
However, it appears that things are not going quite as the UAW had planned.
“The fate of a proposed union representation vote at Volkswagen‘s Chattanooga, Tenn., facility will remain undecided for at least another week as both sides face an extended deadline to file information.
A National Labor Relations Board official’s April 17 decision temporarily puts the brakes on what the Detroit-based United Auto Workers was hoping would be a ‘speedy election.'”
In large part, the postponement is due to the UAW’s own prior attempts to unionize the Chattanooga plant.
Following its 2014 election loss, in 2015, the UAW decided that less is more by seeking to unionize a smaller group of maintenance workers in what is referred to as a ‘micro unit,’ under the NLRB’ rules during the Obama presidency.
Volkswagen objected to the UAW’s micro unit approach, fought the issue and, in 2016, was headed to court.
“Volkswagen on Wednesday reiterated its intention to appeal in federal court because the NLRB panel ‘declined to fully evaluate’ its argument that labor decisions should be made only by the hourly workforce at the plant”
Then, with a new NLRB under President Trump, the federal court sent the case back to the NLRB in 2017.
“In a one-sentence order, the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. may have set the stage for Volkswagen to overturn a UAW election win. After the new Republican majority on the NLRB reversed the Obama Board’s micro-unit decision, the NLRB then moved to have the Volkswagen case sent back to it for further review. On December 26, the Court of Appeals granted the NLRB’s motion and sent the case back to the NLRB.”
Now, as it seeks to hold a plant-wide election, the UAW wants to forget about the micro unit the union had won in 2015 and filed a motion to ‘disclaim interest’ in the smaller group.
However, in a turn of events, Volkswagen has objected to the most recent petition by stating that the prior legal issues should be resolved first.
“VW wants to block UAW Local 42 in Chattanooga from disclaiming an earlier vote at the plant in order to hold a new election,” reported Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Volkswagen said Tuesday in a statement that it wants questions regarding the prior union vote involving just maintenance workers at its Chattanooga plant to be resolved first before another election is called at the factory.”
So far, the NLRB is allowing both the UAW and Volkswagen to argue their cases with legal briefs due next week.—dashing the UAW’s hopes for a ‘quickie election.’