Lance Compa, attorney, expert in labor law and corporate fairness and senior lecturer at Cornell University’s ILR School, discusses the implications of last week’s unsuccessful effort to approve a union for a VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“The election in Chattanooga is a setback for the UAW and the labor movement, but it’s not Armageddon. The fact that a near-majority of workers voted for the union in the face of coercive threats from the entire Tennessee political power structure shows that the UAW has a solid base in the plant to come back for another election in the future.
“I’m reminded of the 2008 NLRB election at the Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, where 5,000 workers voted 53 percent to 47 percent – the same percentage split as in Chattanooga – in favor of the United Food and Commercial Workers after the union had lost two earlier elections. What happened in the VW election is a chapter. It’s not the end of the story.”