UAW faces second challenge in appeal of VW plant vote

Retired Circuit Court Judge Sam Payne, left, announced the UAW lost its bid to represent 1,550 workers at VW's Chattanooga plant on Feb.14.

DETROIT (Reuters) -- An anti-union group representing some workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant on Friday moved to challenge the UAW's appeal of this month's election in which the union failed to organize workers at the factory.

It is the second group this week to challenge the UAW's appeal of the vote.

Southern Momentum, an anti-UAW group overseen by a Chattanooga attorney, filed to intervene in the UAW's objection to the election results to the National Labor Relations Board.

In a petition with the NLRB, the workers asked to intervene in the UAW's appeal, saying the union and VW are in collusion to bring unionization to the Chattanooga plant.

The NLRB will consider the UAW's appeal of the Feb. 12-14 election, which the union lost by a 712-626 vote.

The union claimed in its objection to the vote that outside interference and what it characterized as intimidation, led by politicians such as Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, improperly influenced worker-voters.

Southern Momentum, in a statement, said that if Volkswagen officials do not respond to the UAW's objection, which the group said appears to be the case, then "appropriate arguments against the objections and in favor of upholding the election results may not be presented."

Similar language was included in a petition filed on Tuesday by the National Right to Work Foundation and five anti-UAW workers at the plant. They are also seeking to be heard by the NLRB when it considers the UAW's objections to the election.

The UAW has until March 7 to present evidence supporting its appeal to the NLRB's regional headquarters in Atlanta.

Southern Momentum was established as a non-profit group last month to represent workers opposing UAW representation at the Chattanooga VW plant.

Maury Nicely, a pro-management labor attorney based in Chattanooga, represents the group.

Nicely said in an interview earlier this month that he led fundraising for Southern Momentum, which in late January and early February raised money "in the low six figures" from Chattanooga area businesses and individuals.

Nicely said the money was not raised by anti-UAW workers at the plant. He said the funds paid for anti-UAW T-shirts and fliers handed out by workers at the plant, as well as local newspaper advertisements.

Nicely said the Southern Momentum group is "on a parallel track" with the National Right to Work Foundation but said the two groups are not working together.



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