In December, Local 42 President Mike Cantrell praised VW maintenance workers for voting to organize. But the company continues to appeal that decision. (Photo: Staff)

Volkswagen is seeking an appeal in federal court on the National Labor Relations Board ruling that allowed the United Auto Workers union to organize a group of 152 maintenance workers.

The company said in a statement:

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Volkswagen respects the right of all of our employees to decide the question of union representation. This is why we disagree with the decision to separate Volkswagen maintenance and production workers and will continue our effort to allow everyone to vote as one group on the matter of union representation.

We are disappointed that the NLRB declined to fully evaluate this important question. Therefore, Volkswagen will take the necessary steps to have this issue reviewed by a federal court of appeal.

Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the international union’s Transnational Department, said that if VW asks a federal court for an appeal, it’s a “stall tactic that won’t work.”

He also accused the company of violating federal law and asked the National Labor Relations Board to issue an unfair labor practice complaint against Volkswagen Group of America.

“The facts are: On April 13, the NLRB issued a clear decision supporting efforts among Volkswagen skilled-trades employees to secure meaningful representation in Chattanooga,” he said in a prepared statement. “By choosing to fight the NLRB, Volkswagen is in clear violation of federal law. We are asking the NLRB to order the company to immediately abide by federal law and come to the bargaining table with its employees.”

The federal appeals court with jurisdiction over the Chattanooga plant already has ruled that clearly identifiable employee units within a workforce, such as the skilled-trades unit at Volkswagen, can seek recognition in order to achieve collective bargaining, he also said.

And the UAW rejects the idea that recognizing the group of 152 employees creates division in the workforce.

Casteel also claimed that the local UAW union already represents a majority of the blue-collar workforce and that VW leaders know that because they have verified a substantial membership level.

“At a time when Volkswagen already has run afoul of the federal and state governments in the emissions-cheating scandal, we’re disappointed that the company now is choosing to thumb its nose at the federal government over U.S. labor law,” he said. “At the end of the day, the employees are the ones being cheated by Volkswagen’s actions.”

In April, theNational Labor Relations Board denied Volkswagen’s request to review a regional decision that allowed the group of maintenance workers to gain collective bargaining power under the United Auto Workers union.

That came after December’s two-day election, where employees voted 108 to 44 to allow collective bargaining by the UAW.

Since the election, UAW officials have complained that the company isdenying the group its collective bargaining rights.

The UAW couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday morning.

Updated @ 12:37 p.m. on 4/25/16.
Updated @ 8 a.m.on 4/26/16.

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