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NLRB files complaint against VW over practices in Tennessee

Staff Writer |
The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed an unfair labor practices complaint against Volkswagen (VW) for hiking health insurance premiums and changing working hours of a group of skilled workers who voted for union representation in 2015.

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The complaint is part of a lengthy battle over the NLRB's recognition of the vote by roughly 160 skilled workers at VW's Chattanooga plant in Tennessee to be represented by the United Auto Workers union.

The German automaker has argued against allowing a small group within the plant to have union representation, maintaining that all 1,500 hourly workers should be treated as one unit.

The union sought to represent only a portion of the plant's workers after it narrowly lost a February 2014 election to represent all hourly workers at the plant.

The NLRB complaint states that issues like working hours and conditions of employment are "mandatory subjects for the purposes of collective bargaining."

In an affidavit provide by the UAW, a worker at the plant said that the company has "refused to bargain with the Union over" the changes.

The UAW has never been able to win an organizing vote at a foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the U.S. south.

A victory, even for only a portion of workers at the VW plant, would give the union a stronger foothold in the south, where most foreign-owned auto plants are located.

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