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Why Does VW Want a Works Council in Chattanooga? Will UAW Foothold Endanger Automakers in South?

Released: 12-Feb-2014 3:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: American University
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WHO: Stephen J. Silvia, American University School of International Service associate professor and program director, Master of Arts in International Relations, is author of Holding the Shop Together: German Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era (Cornell University Press, 2013)

WHEN: February 12- ongoing

WHERE: In studio, via telephone, or at American University

Contact: J. Paul Johnson, American University Communications, 202-885-5943 or via e-mail at

Washington, DC (February 12, 2014)– Works Councils hang in balance for the unionization effort at Volkwagen’s Chattanooga plant. VW wants a works council – an entity which permits management to work with its blue collar and white collar workers to get input on how to run the plant. However U.S. labor law requires workers to be represented by an outside union such as the UAW if a works council is to be set up. American University’s School of International Service’s associate professor Stephen J. Silvia is an expert on German industrial relations and can explain the crucial roles works council play and how they differ from a U.S. union. Silvia is the author of Holding the Shop Together: German Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era (Cornell University Press, 2013).

Silvia can also address:
• The implications of the UAW gaining a foothold in the south where other German automakers have set up production lines;
• Whether Japanese and Korean automakers should be worried about their U.S. operations;
• How works councils benefit labor and management;
• Distinguish between a works council and a traditional U.S. union; and,
• Explain how works councils have helped Germany’s economic engine stay robust.

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