On November 18, 2015, the NLRB’s Atlanta Regional Director approved the UAW’s election petition for a small unit of skilled maintenance workers at VW Chattanooga and ordered a two-day election for December 3 and 4. During October, the UAW had petitioned the NLRB to represent a unit of 165 skilled maintenance workers at the VW plant. Earlier in November, VW opposed the UAW’s election petition at a two-day hearing, arguing that the small maintenance group could not be a separate bargaining unit and must be combined with all maintenance and production workers.

VW contended that the skilled maintenance workers shared a “community of interests” with the other maintenance workers as well as the production workers. According to VW, this shared community of interests included an 11-step wage progression, the same employment policies, and the same working conditions and work shifts.

Though the NLRB Regional Director determined that the skilled maintenance workers shared a community of interests with the other maintenance workers and the production workers, he found that they did not share an “overwhelming” community of interests. Under the NLRB’s decision in Specialty Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center of Mobile, the NLRB ruled that, to include additional employees in the union’s proposed unit, the employer must demonstrate that those workers share an “overwhelming community of interests.” The Regional Director found that the small group of skilled maintenance workers was separately supervised and that there was no interchange of workers among the groups. Thus, he found that the shared community of interests was not “overwhelming.”

VW can appeal the Regional Director’s ruling to the NLRB in Washington, D.C.