Last week, some Volkswagen employees added an online petition to the website they created to help educate their fellow workers about the issue of unionization at the company. And a leader with the National Right to Work Foundation said the petition is important protection for VW employees.
"The petition is so critical because it can protect workers from being forced into the union through card check," Patrick Semmens, vice president for public information with the organization, said via email.
If you are a Volkswagen employee interested in weighing in on this issue, contact Chloé Morrison at 423-402-8740, extension 4503 or email@example.com.
The website popped up soon after a United Auto Workers leader said that a majority of Volkswagen employees signed cards in support of union representation.
The website encourages VW employees to sign the petition, which reads, "The undersigned employees do NOT want to be represented by the United Auto Workers, do NOT want to join the UAW and do NOT support the UAW in any manner."
And the site also encourages people who didn't sign a card to sign the petition.
It says that the petition achieves two or three things—neutralizes any card signed in support of the UAW; states explicitly that employees don't want to be represented by the UAW; and serves as an endorsement for the decertification election, in case the UAW does become a bargaining representative.
Semmens said that if enough employees sign the petition, it would be illegal to create the union based only on the cards.
UAW leaders said that at least 51 percent of workers have signed the cards. UAW leaders only need 30 percent of workers to sign to force a secret vote. But because they said they have enough to win a secret vote, UAW leaders want VW to go ahead and approve the cards.
VW leaders told Nooga.com they didn't have a comment on what the company would do. Later, head of human relations at VW Chattanooga Sebastian Patta told Reuters that talks with the UAW about establishing a German-style works council will likely continue into next year.
After the UAW announcement that they have support from a majority of workers, some people—including local workers and leaders from the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce—said a secret ballot vote is the only fair way to determine if the workers really want UAW representation.
"[Signing the petition] doesn’t mean there can’t be a secret ballot vote on unionization, but if enough workers sign, it does make sure the union isn’t installed on the basis of cards that workers are reporting were obtained through misrepresentations, bribes and other illicit means," Semmens said.
The No2UAW website also mentions the possibility of a decertification election, which is the process of removing the union recognized through cards.
That can be done if 30 percent of employees sign a petition saying that's what they want.
But a decertification vote can't take place until a certain amount of time has passed. The amount of time depends on a few variables, but it could be a year or three years, Semmens said.
"That said, including the decertification language in the petition helps to reinforce the other provisions and could give employees more legal options, should the union be installed through card check," he said. "It certainly doesn’t hurt as they try and impress upon the company that they don’t want the union to be forced on them through card check."
Updated @ 8:21 a.m. on 9/24/13 for clarity.
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