Auto workers at a Volkswagon AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee rejected, by a 712-626 vote, the United Auto Works’ (UAW) global union representation plan that had been negotiated with, and encouraged by, the company. The defeat dealt a blow to the UAW’s long-laid plans to unionize manufacturing plants in the region. The vote came just weeks after a decision by the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB or Board) General Counsel recommended dismissal of charges stemming from the company and union’s collaboration to convince employees to make the UAW their bargaining agent. The proposal included the formation of a works council where all employees would have been represented by elected council members. The UAW has filed objections with the NLRB alleging coercive third-party interference, and has asked the Board to set aside the election results. A small group of workers at the Chattanooga plant have asked the NLRB for permission to intervene, and have challenged the objections. 

Approximately 233 Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) employees in California voted to pull out of their union, Service Employees International Union Local 721, and instead form a new association called the Coachella Valley Water District Employee Association. The independent association will elect officers and hold regular meetings, and work with a Long Beach labor relations services firm, City Employees Associates (CEA). The Association will now send new representatives from CEA to continue negotiations with the CVWD on behalf of the employees. 

An NLRB regional director ordered a representation election among resident physicians at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York. The resident physicians are trying to organize with the Service Employees International Union-affiliated Committee of Interns and Residents. The proposed bargaining unit includes 140 interns, residents, chief residents and fellows at the hospital, who are part of a residency program operated by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The regional director relied on prior Board precedent to find that the residents in this program were employees, rather than graduate students as argued by Mount Sinai. 

At another Mount Sinai Health System hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, in New York, more than 400 resident physicians filed a petition for a representation election, seeking representation by the Service Employees International Union-affiliated Committee of Interns and Residents. The hospital is arguing the residents are not employees.

A 13-member bargaining unit consisting of full and part-time staff members and writers at In These Times magazine in Chicago, Illinois, voted through a card check process for representation by the Newspaper Guild Local 32035, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The campaign and subsequent unanimous vote at the non-profit magazine was unopposed by the publication’s management and board of directors.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee was the state with the fastest rate of union membership growth in 2013. The number of union members grew by approximately 31,000, a 25 percent growth over 2012. Georgia and Alabama were a close second and third, respectively, with a 22 percent rate of growth in 2013. Georgia added 38,000 union members while Alabama added 37,000