Tuesday, February 18, 2014

UAW loses vote at Chattanooga VW Plant


Union Suffers Big Loss at Tennessee VW Plant
Volkswagen workers rejected the UAW by a vote of 712 to 626.

The United Auto Workers union suffered a crushing defeat Friday (February 14), falling short in an election in which it seemed to have a clear path to organizing workers at Volkswagen AG's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The setback is a bitter defeat because the union had the cooperation of Volkswagen management and the aid of Germany's powerful IG Metall union, yet it failed to win a majority among the plants' 1,550 hourly workers.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304434104579382541226307368



VW America was opposing unionization at the Chattanooga plant but was overruled by the corporate office, which wants to see a German-style "works council" in the plant.  In other words, VW corporate wants a way to work, cooperatively, with their employees, feeling that they share the same goal: a happier more-productive workforce building a better quality product.

Who can argue?  German auto workers are much better-compensated, yet more productive – far more productive – than in the US.  Germany remains the most competitive manufacturer of cars in the world (on a per worker basis).  Yet, the average worker pay in German auto plants is $67 per hour. In the US, auto worker pay is half that at just over $33 per hour total compensation.

At Chattanooga's VW plant, pay tops out at about $22 per hour.
There are plenty of reasons why Tennessee ranks 47th in the US in terms of income ... unions and high wages aren't among those reasons.


Source:

In 2010, over 5.5 million cars were produced in Germany, twice the 2.7 million built in the United States. Average compensation (a figure including wages and employer-paid benefits) for autoworkers in Germany was 48.97 Euros per hour ($67.14 US), while compensation for auto work in the United States averaged $33.77 per hour, or about half as much as in Germany, all according to 2007 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For Germany-based auto producers, the U.S. is a low-wage country.

At that Chattanooga plant, according to a company spokesperson, new employees earn $14.50 an hour, with wages gradually rising to $19.50 after 3 years on the job.

http://www.remappingdebate.org/article/tale-two-systems