Chattanooga Volkswagen Workers File Federal Suit to Block Further Company and UAW Collusion

News Release

Chattanooga Volkswagen Workers File Federal Suit to Block Further Company and UAW Collusion

Workers rely on Foundation-won precedent establishing that union demands for organizing assistance can violate federal labor law

Washington, DC (March 13, 2014) – Employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block further collusion between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union should the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order a new unionization election at VW's Chattanooga plant.

With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, the workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

After losing last month's unionization election, UAW union officials filed objections with the NLRB seeking to overturn the election results. Five VW workers represented by Right to Work Foundation attorneys then successfully moved to intervene in the UAW's challenge of the election results.

The new suit relies on Foundation-won precedent upheld by a federal appeals court that a Florida casino company's assistance to union officials during a card check unionization campaign could constitute "thing[s] of value" under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).

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More Questions Raised Regarding NLRB's Conduct in UAW/Volkswagen Unionization Case

Today, an article on RealClearMarkets raises more questions regarding the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) conduct in the United Autoworker (UAW) union boss push to gain monopoly power over Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee:

What is unusual about this election for United Auto Workers representation?...

The speedy election was coordinated with the National Labor Relations Board, which was unusually cooperative in approving the election petition. Although the election was only nine days away, the board immediately agreed to set up an election during a three-day period. The NLRB must organize and supervise the election, and count the ballots. How odd that on February 3 the Board had time available from February 12 to 14 to do this, a big favor for the United Auto Workers.

Former NLRB board member John N. Raudabaugh, now a law professor, told me, "I have never seen such a quick election."

As you may recall, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys are assisting several workers who challenged the UAW's and VW's coercive unionization tactics at the Chattanooga VW facility. After a three month investigation, the NLRB's Division of Advice issued two memos instructing the NLRB Regional Director in Atlanta to dismiss the workers' charges.

Moreover, NLRB staff in Washington, DC, hurriedly released the Division's instructions to members of the press and did not release the memos to the workers' Foundation staff attorneys.

A leaked email shows that the Regional Director in Atlanta questioned the propriety of the memos' release to the media, contrary to longstanding NLRB practice.

Foundation attorneys are concerned that the NLRB's hurried public release of memos favorable to VW and the UAW right before a high-profile election, and its approval of a quick-snap election within hours of VW requesting one, calls into question the agency's impartiality in the workers' cases.

Foundation staff attorneys have requested an official inquiry into the NLRB's conduct in the case, and also filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the NLRB seeking full disclosure regarding the agency's handling of the case and its contacts with UAW agents.

The NLRB's actions in this case continue to raise questions about its impartiality going forward.

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