Volkswagen Workers File Federal Suit to Block Company and UAW Collusion
Employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee facility have filed a federal lawsuit 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, according to a news release from The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.
The Foundation is a nonprofit organization providing free legal aid to employees who believe their human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. With free legal assistance from Foundation attorneys, the workers filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
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.
According to the news release, 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.
The Foundation claims that 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."
UAW President Bob King responded, saying, “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.”
More Business News
Last Update on October 09, 2015 17:12 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Cheaper oil and less demand for autos and machinery weighed on wholesalers in August, as their inventories edged up just slightly while sales dropped.
The Commerce Department said today that wholesale stockpiles rose 0.1 percent, and sales fell 1 percent. Sales have slid 4.7 percent over the past 12 months. Inventories have increased 4.1 percent.
Falling oil prices account for much of the declining sales.
Oil inventories -- which are measured in dollars -- plummeted 4.6 percent in August and 36.6 percent over the past 12 months. Sales of autos and machinery also slipped. But rising inventories for equipment, pharmaceuticals and chemicals suggest that wholesalers still see ongoing demand heading into end of the year.
Wholesale inventories are at a seasonally adjusted $583.9 billion, 4.1 percent above a year ago.
Sales weakened as the broader economy began to cool in August, hampered in large part by the risks of a worldwide deceleration in economic activity.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A voting member of the Federal Reserve's policy committee says that he still thinks an interest-rate increase will be appropriate by year's end. But he acknowledges that the outlook for the economy appears cloudier than it did a few weeks ago.
Dennis Lockhart, president of the Fed's Atlanta regional bank, noted that the most recent economic figures have sent mixed signals, with higher risks than he had earlier forecast. Notably, the government said last week that employers cut back sharply on hiring in September and added fewer jobs in July and August than previously thought.
Lockhart said he will closely review consumer activity before deciding how to vote on whether to raise rates at one of the Fed's two final meetings of 2015.
For now, he said, he thinks the economy's progress remains "satisfactory."
Lockhart made his remarks to the annual meeting of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in New York.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that a Fed rate hike remains likely this year but that a final decision will depend on how the economy performs.
In an interview with CNBC, William Dudley says he expects solid U.S. economic growth to offset weakness overseas, which is hurting U.S. exports. But he says the economy will need to further improve for the Fed to raise rates from record lows.
The Fed's final two meetings of 2015 will be later this month and in December. Though Dudley says a rate hike could theoretically occur at any meeting, his comments seemed to favor December over October.
Some economists still think the Fed will delay a hike until 2016 because of pressures from overseas and excessively low inflation.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart has named Brett Biggs, an executive in its international division, as its next chief financial officer.
Biggs will take over on Dec. 31, though Charles Holley, who is retiring, will remain with Wal-Mart for a month to help with the transition.
Biggs has been CFO and executive vice president of Wal-Mart's international business since 2014. He has played a number of roles at Wal-Mart since joining the company in 2000.
Holley has been CFO for nearly five years and has been with the company for more than two decades.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is trying to boost sales. It has increased spending on its online operations to compete with Amazon.com and other online retailers, and it is trying to improve its selection and customer service at stores.
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