WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen Group and the UAW confirmed Wednesday that workers at the German automaker's Chattanooga, Tenn., assembly plant will vote June 12-14 on whether to unionize.
The UAW had petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to set the dates for the election to represent about 1,700 trade and production workers at the plant, which builds cars and crossovers. Workers at the plant in 2014 voted against unionizing in a blow to the UAW's efforts to organize U.S plants operated by foreign automakers.
VW has said it has taken a neutral position on whether the Tennessee workers should unionize.
Last week, U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both D-Mich., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wrote Volkswagen Group of America expressing "deep concern with delays" to the vote after a dispute over whether VW should recognize a December 2015 vote of 160 skilled trade maintenance workers at the plant to unionize and affiliate with the UAW.
VW began production in 2011 at the plant, which builds the Passat car and the Atlas crossover. In January, VW said it was investing $800 million to build a new electric vehicle in Tennessee and add 1,000 jobs at the Chattanooga plant that will begin EV production in 2022.
UAW membership has plummeted 75 percent since 1979 and now stands at about 396,000. The UAW has failed for two decades to organize foreign automaker plants in the United States despite repeated efforts.
The UAW has never been able to win an organizing vote at a foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the southern U.S. states. A victory would give the union a stronger foothold in the region, where most foreign-owned auto plants are located.
The vote will come a few months before the UAW opens contract talks with the Detroit 3 automakers. Those contracts expire in mid-September.