The United Auto Workers suffered a major defeat Friday as workers at Volkswagen AG’s assembly plant narrowly rejected a proposal to form a German-style works council and join the union, David Shephardson reports from Chattanooga in The Detroit News.
The dramatic rejection by workers in a 626 to 712 vote raises serious questions about the UAW’s expensive and lengthy efforts to organize foreign automakers.
A total of 89 percent of the roughly 1,550 voters that were eligible to vote cast ballots over the last few days.
The vote here at the four-year-old plant — after more than two years of effort by the union — may have been the Detroit union’s best chance to reverse nearly two decades of defeats and is likely to prompt a review of strategy when the union’s new leadership team, including a new president, is elected by members in June.
It’s a dramatic reversal from September, when the UAW presented a majority of union cards signed by members who wanted to join, Shepardson writes.
The road ahead only gets tougher for the UAW in working to organize other foreign plants. Unlike other automakers, VW didn’t oppose the UAW, hire anti-union consultants or give talks warning workers about the downside of joining a union.
Earlier coverage at Deadline Detroit:
Related coverage today at Deadline Detroit: