Volkswagen Workers in Tennessee Call for Union Vote to Join UAW

Volkswagen Dealership (Credits: Josefkubes/Getty Images)

Workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee have taken a significant step toward union representation by filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on joining the United Auto Workers (UAW), the union announced on Monday.

The union highlighted that a “supermajority of Volkswagen workers have signed union cards in just 100 days,” marking a notable achievement in the UAW’s efforts to organize nonunionized auto plants in the United States.

Despite previous unsuccessful attempts to unionize foreign-based automakers in the U.S., including Volkswagen and Nissan plants, the UAW sees this filing as a pivotal moment. In 2019, VW workers at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant rejected union representation in a close vote.

UAW Activists (Credits: Andi Rice)

The Chattanooga facility is Volkswagen’s sole U.S. assembly plant, employing over 4,000 autoworkers eligible to vote for union representation.

Volkswagen acknowledged receipt of the petition and affirmed its commitment to respecting workers’ rights to organize through a democratic process.

“We will fully support an NLRB vote so every team member has a chance to vote in privacy in this important decision.

The election timeline will be determined by the NLRB. Volkswagen is proud of our working environment in Chattanooga that provides some of the best paying jobs in the area,” the company stated.

Hourly wages for VW production workers at the plant range from $23.40 to $32.40, with a four-year period to reach top wages.

UAW Logo

These figures are lower than those negotiated by the UAW with Detroit automakers last year, which currently range from about $25 to $36 an hour for production workers, including estimated cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). Top wages under the UAW contracts are projected to exceed $42 an hour for production workers.

Volkswagen is among the 13 nonunion automakers targeted by the UAW since late last year, following successful negotiations with Detroit automakers.

This organizing effort encompasses nearly 150,000 autoworkers across various automakers, including BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Rivian, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.