The United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced Monday that workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will hold a unionization vote after the UAW secured historic contracts for workers at Detroit’s Big Three automakers last year.

The UAW said a supermajority of eligible Volkswagen workers signed union cards to call for the election at the Chattanooga plant. The facility is Volkswagen’s only assembly plant in the U.S. and employs about 4,100 workers who make the Atlas and ID.4. The union added that it “is the only Volkswagen plant globally with no form of employee representation.”

The pending unionization vote comes after UAW President Shawn Fain vowed that the union would “pull out all the stops” to organize workers at non-union automakers like Volkswagen, Tesla, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and others in the wake of securing record-setting contracts for UAW workers at Ford, GM and Stellantis. 

Buoyed by that success, Fain launched a first-of-its-kind campaign to organize the entire non-union auto assembly sector in the U.S. at 13 automakers after previous efforts by the UAW to organize non-union automakers in recent years have failed, including at VW’s Chattanooga plant.

UAW’S SHAWN FAIN MAKES STATE OF THE UNION GUEST LIST IN NOD TO ORGANIZED LABOR 

In 2019, VW workers at the plant rejected union representation in an 833-776 vote. Previous votes to organize Nissan auto plants in Mississippi and Tennessee also failed by wide margins.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
VWAGY VOLKSWAGEN AG 14.745 +0.39 +2.68%

Volkswagen told FOX Business in a statement, “We respect our workers’ right to a democratic process and to determine who should represent their interests. 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,” Volkswagen’s statement continued.

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UAW President Shawn Fain

Volkswagen said in November that it would raise the pay of its factory workers in Tennessee by 11%, joining several other foreign automakers that announced significant pay and compensation improvements following the UAW’s contract with the Big Three automakers.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR CO. 12.06 -0.02 -0.17%
GM GENERAL MOTORS CO. 40.70 +0.01 +0.04%
STLA STELLANTIS NV 28.50 +1.00 +3.64%
TM TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. 234.62 +3.65 +1.58%
TSLA TESLA INC. 163.57 +1.07 +0.66%

It remains to be seen whether those pay and benefit hikes will be enough to fend off the UAW’s unionization push at non-union automakers

Volkswagen Logo American Flag Reflection

The union said earlier this month that over 30% of workers at a Toyota factory in Missouri are seeking to join the union and last month indicated that a majority of hourly workers at a Mercedes-Benz factory in Alabama have signed union authorization cards.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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