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Volkswagen and UAW explore union at Tennessee plant

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NEW YORK — Volkswagen is working with the United Automobile Workers at its Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant on how to unionize the plant and create a German-style works council there, the president of the union said Friday.

The company would be the first German automaker to have such a council at a US plant. A works council is a group of employees that includes white- and blue-collar workers that meets with management on issues like working conditions and productivity.

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But in order to avoid violating US labor laws, the plant would first have to be formally unionized, the company said.

“VW workers in Chattanooga have the unique opportunity to introduce this new model of labor relations to the United States, in partnership with the UAW,” the union’s president, Bob King, said Friday.

VW officials said that a works council can be created at a company in the United States only with the cooperation of a labor union because it might otherwise be viewed as an illegal company-sponsored union.

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