The IndustriALL Global Union executive committee has adopted a resolution calling on beleaguered German car manufacturer Volkswagen to respect trade union rights at its Chattanooga plant in the U.S. state of Tennessee.
The meeting of more than 200 union representatives from around the world took place late in May at the Frankfurt headquarters of IG Metall, a German affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union. Cooperation with the German Metalworkers Union is critical for VW, which has vast operations in Deutschland.
The German auto giant is apparently refusing to bargain with skilled trades workers at its Chattanooga plant. The workers voted last December to choose IndustriALL affiliate, the United Auto Workers (UAW), as their exclusive representative for collective bargaining.
“Not only does Volkswagen’s refusal to bargain violate US law, it also infringes the company’s global framework agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL, as well as international labor standards,” said IG Metall president Jörg Hofmann.
“It is not acceptable that companies abide by the law in Germany but disregard it in other countries. Workers’ rights should be respected worldwide – particularly by companies headquartered in Germany.” Hofmann said.
UAW’s secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel told the Executive Committee: “There is a cartel of capitalists in the South of the USA working in cohesion with right wing groups and antiunion lawyers. The tricks and tactics in the south of the U.S. won’t remain there – they will be coming to you soon.”
The Executive Committee unanimously passed the resolution that calls on Volkswagen to immediately begin negotiations with the skilled trades workers at Chattanooga.
The resolution says that if Volkswagen has not formally agreed to begin collective bargaining with the workers by 22 June, IndustriALL shall initiate further actions, which could lead to the eventual revocation of the GFA between IndustriALL and Volkswagen.