The company still has not settled on a proposal, and still intends for employees to choose their representation through a formal vote, Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, told reporters Sept. 4 after a monthly call to discuss the VW brand's U.S. sales.
"We've said we're looking for an innovative solution in Chattanooga that allows our employees to have a voice both locally and in a global, formal works council structure," he said. "We've been very clear that that process has to run its course, that no management decision has been made and that it may or may not conclude with formal third party representation.
"We've also said repeatedly that ultimately, the decision of formal third party representation is up to our employees through a formal vote. I think the simplest statement is: Those realities haven't changed."
The matter was thrust into the spotlight on Sept. 2, when the German newspaper Handelsblatt published a report saying UAW President Bob King met Aug. 30 with Horst Neumann, VW's board member for human resources, to discuss a works council plan.
The representation talks are also crucial to the UAW, which sees the Chattanooga talks as an opportunity to try out a new model of labor relations and as a springboard that could help the union organize other foreign-owned assembly plants.
Chattanooga plant workers have been collecting signed cards of support for the UAW for more than a year. The union has yet to comment on last week's talks.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.