The other day I was wondering whatever happened with the UAW’s appeal of the Volkswagen union vote in Tennessee. It happened a couple weeks ago so at least some of you probably heard, but as it turns out there has been some movement on this as the UAW dropped its complaint with the National Labor Review Board:
[T]he union issued a statement Monday saying it was dropping its appeal because fighting the election through the NLRB could have dragged on for years.
“The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rear-view mirror,” said UAW President Bob King in a statement.
The union said even if the NLRB ordered a new election — the board’s only available remedy under current law — nothing would stop politicians and anti-union organizations from again interfering.
But some experts had suggested that the union stood little chance of winning a new vote, even if the NRLB ruled in its favor.
“Most people thought they’d win the first time around,” said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University. “I think the chances of winning a second vote will be more difficult than winning the first vote.”
They can try a new vote in a year. Gabe Nelson adds some background, suggesting that this may be a part of a longer-term strategy:
“It was going to be problematic for Volkswagen if the UAW continued with this appeal,” said Erik Loomis, a labor historian at the University of Rhode Island who has written about the UAW campaign in Chattanooga. “The UAW wants to be seen as Volkswagen’s friend, and Bob King seems to think that’s going to be the ticket to ultimately organize the plant.”
Now that the appeal has been withdrawn, the onus for securing the crossover shifts to Tennessee. If the production order goes to Mexico instead of Chattanooga, state politicians, not the UAW, would be in line for the blame.
“Tactically, it was a good move for them to make in this situation,” said Maury Nicely, a Chattanooga lawyer who argued against the UAW’s appeal for the anti-union group Southern Momentum.