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A Pivotal Week For Organized Labor

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – It’s a pivotal week for organized labor, as workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee vote on whether to be represented by the United Auto Workers. The UAW is seeking its first victory organizing a plant in the south in 20 tries.

The union says it has enough votes at the plant to win. A top UAW official said a majority of workers at the plant have signed cards favoring the union’s representation in creating a German-style works council.

Gary Casteel, a Tennessee-based regional director for the UAW, told The Associated Press that the cards include a statement about wanting to join VW’s Global Works Council and supporting cooperative and collaborative relations with the company. The cards are as legally binding as an election by the workers at the plant in Chattanooga, he said.

But Republican politicians in the region have expressed fears that a UAW foothold at Volkswagen could spread to other automakers and hurt future recruiting efforts.

A defeat for the union could mean losses at other plants where the UAW is trying to get a foothold.

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