Hearing on UAW challenge to Tennessee VW plant set

Union alleges anti-certification rhetoric influenced vote

CHATTANOOGA (Reuters) — The United Auto Workers (UAW) union will make its case next month that the results of a February election it lost at a Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen plant should be thrown out, a U.S. agency said on Friday.

An administrative law judge will preside over a hearing set for April 7 at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Chattanooga that could continue on into additional days, a U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representative said.

The UAW has asked the NLRB to invalidate the 712-626 vote at the VW facility and hold a new election, alleging that workers were improperly influenced by anti-union statements made by Tennessee Republican politicians and outside interest groups in the days leading up to the election.

The NLRB does not comment on the details or substance of ongoing matters. The federal agency supervises union elections and polices unfair labour practices in the private sector, and its regional office in Atlanta is handling the VW Chattanooga challenge.

The decisions of regional NLRB offices can be appealed to the full five-member board in Washington, D.C.

UAW attorneys will be at the hearing, along with counsel for a group of anti-union VW workers who successfully petitioned to defend the outcome of the vote.

The anti-union workers are mounting their defense with the support of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum, two of the groups that campaigned against the UAW in the days leading up to the election.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican whose pre-vote statements are at the heart of the UAW's challenge, has indicated the hearing could be pushed back to April 21. The NLRB could not confirm whether the April 7 hearing may be delayed.

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