Volkswagen has rejected a request from Tennessee workers to give equal time to workers opposed to unionization attempts by the United Auto Workers.
The company has reportedly allowed representatives from IG Metall, a German-based labor group that is allied with the UAW, to roam facilities at the non-union plant. The company rejected a request from several workers to allow “team members before and after work to discuss alternative forms of worker representation” on Friday afternoon.
The rejection drew condemnation from labor watchdogs, including Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom.
"Volkswagen workers opposed to UAW representation have been shut down by management in a blatant attempt to grease the union's move into the company,” he said.
Workers from the Tennessee plant have issued numerous complaints against the company and union since it began hijacking VW’s attempt to create a “works council,” a cooperative entity that serves to represent worker interests to management.
Workers have claimed that UAW misled employees by saying that only unions could serve on works councils. The National Labor Relations Board rejected those complaints in a ruling earlier this week, and the plant could be the first auto manufacturer to unionize in Tennessee, a right to work state.
The decision led the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWF) to demand an investigation into the NLRB, which has been accused of pro-union bias under the Obama administration.
“The NLRB’s actions undermined Foundation attorneys’ ability to advise their clients before the NLRB’s dismissal of their cases became publicly known,” NRTWF legal director Ray LaJeunesse said in a release. “The NLRB’s conduct further cements the perception that one set of rules applies to benefit union bosses and another set of rules applies against workers who wish to remain union free.”
Patterson said that the NLRB decision, as well as the company’s own actions, demonstrates that VW is not interested in an honest election. He added that the company could be aiming to preserve labor peace at the expense of the desires of individual workers.
“Doubtless workers will be barraged by UAW materials in the coming weeks, while being denied the opportunity to hear the other side,” Patterson said. “That's not fair, and that's not right—workers should have all the facts so they can make an informed decision about unionization."