UAW retreats from fight over Volkswagen union vote

April 21, 2014
LABOR
UAW retreats from Volkswagen vote fight

The United Auto Workers announced Monday that it is withdrawing its appeal of the outcome of a union vote at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee.

In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chattanooga, UAW President Bob King said the union decided to abandon the challenge because it could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion.

“The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rearview mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga,” King said.

The UAW had filed its appeal after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712 to 626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) and other GOP officials had raised fears about the plant’s future if workers there organized.

Leaked documents later revealed that Tennessee had tied a $300 million incentive offer for expanding the plant to the satisfactory outcome of the labor situation there.

Volkswagen wanted to introduce a German-style works council at the plant to represent both salaried and blue-collar workers, but the company’s interpretation of U.S. law has been that it can’t do so without the involvement of an independent union.

The company issued a statement welcoming the UAW decision as “an important gesture for a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga.” Volkswagen said it will continue to pursue its efforts to establish “a new, innovative form of co-determination in the USA.”

— Associated Press

FOOD
Kraft recalls hot dogs for mislabeling

Kraft Foods is recalling 96,000 pounds of its Oscar Mayer wieners because they may mistakenly contain cheese.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Sunday that Kraft’s “Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners” may instead contain the company’s “Classic Cheese Dogs.”

The agency said the product labels are incorrect and do not reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs. Those products were made with milk, a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.

It said the problem was discovered by a consumer who notified Kraft on Friday. The company alerted the USDA the following day, according to a statement.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service said it has not received reports of adverse reactions.

A representative of Kraft Foods Group, Joyce Hodel, said in an e-mail that the hot dogs were made in a plant in Columbia, Mo.

The products were made in early March and bear the number “Est. 537H” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

— Associated Press

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