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Policy: Labor

As expected, UAW asks NLRB for a Tennessee do-over for VW plant

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Labor unions,Labor,NLRB,Bob Corker,Volkswagen,Chattanooga,UAW

As the Washington Examiner's editorial page predicted Feb. 20, the United Auto Workers have asked the National Labor Relations Board for a Chattanooga do-over.

The do-over demand became inevitable when the Detroit-based union lost its bid to organize workers in Volkswagen's Tennessee plant on Feb. 15 by a wide margin, 712-626.

The German car company had done everything it could to assist the UAW's effort and right up to the last moment before workers started casting ballots, even opponents of union expected the first unionized foreign auto plant in the South would be approved.

A novel concept

The Wall Street Journal notes today the unusual reasoning underlying the UAW's request for the revote: Republican politicians spoke against the union and thus intimidated workers.

In its objection, UAW officials charged that "'a coordinated and widely-publicized coercive campaign' to deprive 'workers of their federally-protected right' to 'support and select the UAW as their exclusive representative,'" according to the Journal.

The union was especially upset by Sen. Bob Corker's pre-election statement that he had been assured the Chattanooga plant would get a second production assignment if the UAW was rejected. Almost as soon as Corker said it, however, VW officials stoutly denied the Tennessee senator had been given any such assurance.

A perfect laboratory

Even so, there are NLRB precedents, beginning in the 1948 General Shoe case, in which the labor board has held that a representation election must occur in as nearly laboratory perfect conditions as possible to insure the undiluted will of the workers is expressed.

But, as the Journal points out, it's difficult to conceive of a more perfect laboratory for the UAW to win such an election:

"If anything, Volkswagen favored the union by giving labor organizers the run of the plant while denying similar access to anti-union workers."

Prediction: The NLRB will grant the do-over and the UAW will lose the second vote by an even larger margin than it did the first.

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Author:

Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner