What's next for Volkswagen?
Everybody is still talking about the close defeat the United Auto Workers Union suffered at the company's only factory in America.
The issue of employee representation at V-W is not dead however. In fact last Friday's narrow "No" vote almost guarantees an alternative that the company is considering on its own.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said he understands that Volkswagen believes an American-style works council is a competitive advantage for the company.
"They're the ones who make the cars, not me," says Mayor Berke. "I think they're going to continue to find what works for them."
Volkswagen Chattanooga Chief Executive Officer Frank Fischer made it clear after the vote last Friday night that what works for the company instead of the U-A-W, could be a committee of employees working with management on the day-to-day operations of the factory.
It is based on the works council that V-W has at its plants in Germany and around the world.
"Our goal remains to determine the best method to establishing a works council that serves our employees' interests and Volkswagen-America's production needs, in accordance with U.S. law," Fischer said at the news conference after the vote last Friday.
Right now, U-S law is the issue. Works councils are illegal in America, unless the V-W workers vote in a union.
Although they passed on the United Auto Workers Union, industry watchers like Sean McAlinden with the Center for Automotive Research say other unions could court the Volkswagen workers. However McAlinden questions whether a union OR a works council would be better than a top-notch, human resources department.
"I don't think you can allow a council to make changes in job descriptions, occupations, pay, holidays, personal time issues, things like that."
McAlinden said in his opinion, right now the Volkswagen workers would be best served to let the issue of works councils and unions rest for a while, giving both sides a chance to weigh any and all options.
The next big announcement for Volkswagen could be where its new S-U-V will be built. Chattanooga is being considered for that, along with V-W's huge facility in Mexico.By Calvin Sneed