Lawsuit Filed In Chattanooga Federal Court By Anti-UAW VW Employees; UAW Responds

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Anti-UAW employees at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga facility have filed a lawsuit in Chattanooga Federal Court "seeking to block further collusion between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union should the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) order a new unionization election at VW’s Chattanooga plant."

The suit was filed with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys. Chattanooga attorney Bill Horton filed the suit.

Plaintiffs are Michael Burton, Michael Jarvis and David Reed.

Defendants are the United Auto Workers and Volkswagen. 

UAW President Bob King issued the following statement in reaction to the lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation:
 
“The lawsuit filed by the National Right to Work Legal Foundation is baseless. At the time it negotiated its Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America, the UAW had already established for the Company that it was the majority representative of hourly Volkswagen employees, on the lawful basis of authorization cards signed by a majority of such employees. Moreover, even if the UAW had not demonstrated this status, the UAW's Election Agreement with Volkswagen Group of America would still be lawful, just like many other neutrality agreements the UAW and other unions have negotiated with employers throughout the United States.
 

“The National Right to Work Legal Foundation has a history of frivolous lawsuits trying to stop workers from joining the UAW, including failed lawsuits at Dana and Freightliner.”

After losing last month’s unionization election, UAW union officials filed objections with the NLRB seeking to overturn the election results.  Five VW workers represented by Right to Work Foundation attorneys then successfully moved to intervene in the UAW’s challenge of the election results.

Attorneys filing the suit said, "The new suit relies on Foundation-won precedent upheld by a federal appeals court that a Florida casino company’s assistance to union officials during a card check unionization campaign could constitute “thing[s] of value” under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).  Under the LMRA, employers are prohibited from handing over “any money or other thing of value” to union officials, a provision that is supposed to prevent them from selling out workers’ rights in exchange for corporate concessions.

"Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments and then “dismissed as improvidently granted” a union appeal of a federal court ruling that these neutrality schemes could violate federal law, thus leaving the lower court’s ruling intact. 

"The suit contends that the neutrality arrangement between VW and UAW union organizers contain numerous such prohibited provisions, including mandatory pro-union meetings, use of company property by outside UAW organizers, and clauses preventing VW and its managers from opposing unionization, all of which were implemented in the lead up to the vote that UAW lost 712-626.

"In exchange for that valuable organizing assistance, the UAW promised the company that, once workers were unionized, UAW officials would delegate many of the union’s duties to a German-style Works Council, limit bargaining demands to ensure company “cost advantages,” and not go on strike. Further, the UAW promised not to make negative comments about VW or to conduct organizing activity for one year if the union lost the election."

“UAW union officials and Volkswagen management have colluded to deprive these workers of a fair vote from the start,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation.  “Enough is enough, which is why these workers are seeking to prevent further VW assistance to the UAW’s organizing efforts.”

Click here to read the lawsuit.


PHOTOS: Swearing In Ceremony At Convention Center

County officials were sworn in during ceremonies Tuesday morning at the Convention Center (click for more)

Woman's Body Found In River Was Latasha Nichols

Family members say the woman's body found in the Hiwassee River was that of 34-year-old Latasha Nichols. She was reported missing last month. The family said DNA testing was conclusive that the body was hers. Family members say they want to know what caused her death. The viewing will be Wednesday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Jim Rush Funeral Homes in Cleveland. The ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Fast-Starting Vols Gear Up For Another Mobile QB

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a new week for Tennessee’s football team, but the challenge that awaits in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be a familiar reminder of the one the Volunteers just completed. The Volunteers have a short week to prepare for Arkansas State, a team much like Utah State, which relies heavily on a dual-threat quarterback and a physical front line. ... (click for more)

Chris O'Brien And Andres Santiago Named To Southern League's Weekly Honors

Tuesday, the Southern League announced that Chattanooga Lookouts’ catcher Chris O’Brien has been named Southern League Player of the Week and pitcher Andres Santiago was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 25-September 1.  O’Brien is the fourth Chattanooga Lookouts’ position player to earn a weekly accolade from the league this season while ... (click for more)