WASHINGTON — The United Auto Workers (UAW) union was dealt a major blow to its future plan for survival as a Volkswagen AG plant and its workers rejected a plan to unionize under the UAW banner.
Reuters reported that the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant rejected unionization by a 712-626 vote.
UAW tried to push VW workers to unionize as one of its best chances to unionize in the South. They spent over two years to organize this vote and it was a major blow to the future of the struggling labor union.
89% of eligible workers cast their ballots in the vote, but it did not come without controversy. The former mayor of Chattanooga (and current Tennessee U.S. Senator) Bob Corker, who first helped bring the plant to the city, said that if the union is rejected that VW will expand its plant. UAW denounced Corker’s comments as pre-emptive comment on the unionization vote.
UAW has seen its membership fall 75% since 1979 and currently stands under 400,000 members. Unions have not done well in the South, where workers do not like or trust workers and have a strong tradition of non-union workers.