Volkswagen (VW) announced a new policy that will grant eligible organizations at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant status as a “representative group” belonging to one of three tiers, based on representative percentage. This is the first time the company will recognize and meet with groups with less than majority support. VW’s announcement follows the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) February 2014 representation election loss. The policy cannot be used to request recognition as the exclusive representative of employees for purposes of collective bargaining and requires that employees select only one primary group for purposes of membership percentage. The UAW is pursuing the 45 percent tier to establish meetings with management, hoping to begin negotiating as a minority union but to eventually gain collective bargaining rights when membership is substantial enough.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has been actively pursuing organizing campaigns at several FedEx Freight facilities across the country, with decidedly mixed results. Following an initial victory in October at an East Philadelphia facility, where workers voted 26 to 18 for representation, IBT held successful elections at freight facilities in Monmouth Junction, N.J., where workers voted 66 to 42 for representation, and Charlotte, N.C., where workers voted 110 to 97 for representation. FedEx is contesting the East Philadelphia election and may contest the Monmouth Junction and Charlotte facilities elections as well. The victories, however, coincide with FedEx workers at facilities in Cinnaminson and Newark, N.J. voting down representation. IBT also withdrew election petitions at facilities in Middletown, Pa. and South Newark, N.J., which FedEx officials say was based on a lack of union support. On November 20, IBT also cancelled an election at the Richmond facility in Chester, Va. The IBT is continuing to campaign, with recent representation petitions filed at freight locations in Pocono Summit, Pa. and Parkersburg, W.Va.
Bus drivers at Loop Transportation providing shuttle transportation to Facebook employees at its California facility voted 42 to 28 for representation by the IBT. Loop employs 87 drivers who are allegedly seeking schedule changes that often require them to wait, unpaid, between picking up and dropping of employees at Facebook, as well as pay raises and improved working conditions.
Adjunct faculty at Burlington College and Champlain College, both in Vermont, voted in favor of representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with a count of 23 to 4 in Burlington and 118 to 30 in Champlain. SEIU claims to represent more than 20,000 contingent faculty across the country, with active organizing drives in 11 metropolitan areas. The union’s organizing effort is targeting mostly small, privately owned colleges.
A group of 268 licensed practical nurses, radiology technologists, and other technical workers at Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital in Connecticut, voted, 120-108, in favor of representation by the Connecticut affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The union already represents registered nurses at the two hospitals.
A group of 84 food distribution drivers at Roma of Southern California, a division of Performance Food Group (PFG), voted 68 to 15 in favor of representation by the IBT. The union victory is the first organizing win at the company on the West Coast, although the Teamsters have contracts at several PFG terminals on the East Coast.