After a harsh anti-union campaign and a failed union vote, some workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee will finally be allowed to be represented by a union—more than one, if they so choose.
Volkswagen recently introduced a new policy that allows allows a variety of unions different tiers of representational rights based on the percentage of the workforce that sign up to become members of the union, the New York Times reported last week. The unions will have different representational responsibilities based on how many employees are members of the union. And, as the Detroit Free Press reports, because the company policies now allow for workers to be represented by multiple unions, the United Auto Workers (UAW) are not the only union vying to represent Chattanooga Volkswagen workers: another organization called the American Council of Employees is also hoping to sign up workers.
RIDLEY TOWNSHIP >> United Aerospace Workers Union Local 1069 and Boeing Inc. have reached a tentative agreement, potentially heading off a work stoppage, after a month of negotations and a contract expiration.
On Monday, the two sides reached the agreement, which will be voted on by the 1,700 union members at the Sun Center Studios in Aston on Sunday. Details of the agreement had not been released and union members were advised that updated information would be made available at the ratification meeting.
“I’m proud to say that we have reached a tentative agreement on our 2014 collective bargaining agreement,” Chris Owens, president of the UAW 1069, wrote on the unit’s website. “We still have to proofread and further review the agreement over the next few days, so we can’t release a lot of details of the agreement, but it does contain many pluses for the membership of Local 1069 and their families for years to come.”
BY David Moberg
With their day-long strike a week ago and ratification of a new union contract on Sunday, workers at a Hammond, Indiana, auto parts plant may have dealt a blow to a divisive concession that has proven a scourge to many unions in recent years—“two-tier” wage systems.
Under these two-tier systems, new workers start at hourly rates far below longtime workers and have scheduled pay progressions that will never match the veterans’ pay (nor usually their benefits, especially pensions). For example, under the old contract at the Hammond plant, Lear paid new workers as little as $11 an hour, rising to a maximum of $16 an hour, while veterans made $19.97 an hour doing the same work.
By the end of their four-year contract with Lear Corp., local union president Jaime Luna said, the 760 United Auto Workers members who make seats for the Ford Taurus and Explorer models will all converge at the contract’s increased wage rate for experienced workers (now numbering about 200): $21.58 an hour.
But later on Monday, Automotive News reported that a Lear senior vice-president of human resources, Tom DiDonato, said that in order to eliminate the two-tier system for about 450 workers, the UAW agreed to accept a new job title for 310 positions—sub-assembly workers—with even lower wages. At the end of the contract, starting pay for subassembly workers would be $12 an hour (compared to $16.50 for assembly workers) and the maximum would be $15.25 (below the top pay of $16 an hour in the previous contract for assembly workers).
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