Lowell Turner is the director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and a former union representative from San Francisco.
“Workers at VW plant in Chattanooga are set to vote on union representation this week, and union representation will lead to the establishment of a German-style works council, the first ever in the U.S. Every VW plant in the world has both union representation and a works council – except Chattanooga – it’s the VW culture. “Works councils are elected by the entire workforce, and give employees a second channel for collective representation in problem solving with management. They provide employee engagement in management decision making – and are credited with a major contribution to the success of German industry and its world-class exports. Without union representation and a works council, Chattanooga workers are the one group denied this voice in company decision making – including input on production location. “VW is neutral in this NLRB election – the opposition is coming from anti-union third parties on the outside, including National Right to Work, a Koch Brothers-funded front group and conservative politicians.”