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Workers blocked from exercising democratic right

Republican politicians and conservative groups wage war against workers choice to join union

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Unifor National President Jerry Dias is lamenting the news that workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee have not been successful in unionizing their workplace.

The unionization drive at Volkswagen made international news over the last month on account of the intense anti-union pressure coming from not only conservative groups, but Republican politicians who vocally pressed workers not to join the union. The vote took place over February 12-14 at the Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant.

"This vote had little chance of succeeding, with laws that make it difficult for workers to join unions, and then an endless barrage of publicity and fear-mongering, aimed at pressuring workers to vote no," said Dias. "This is a very sad story - republicans and well-funded conservative groups have convinced workers to vote against their own best interest. In Canada, we don't face the same pressures, but still the legislative climate favours big business over workers' right to choose."

"Volkswagen plants all over Europe are unionized. There is no good reason for American workers not to have the right to a union and all the benefits unions bring."

Dias said that Unifor is in the midst of its first major new member organizing effort, at Toyota in Cambridge and Woodstock.  "Similar to Volkswagen, Toyota workplaces around the world are unionized. The only exceptions are the few manufacturing facilities in North America."

The UAW had succeeded in reaching a neutrality agreement with Volkwagen, meaning that the company would not interfere in the process. This did not preclude interference by the state or other agencies.

The UAW is a sister union to Unifor, which was formed this past Labour Day weekend, by the joining together of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions.

SOURCE Unifor

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