In a defeat for organized labor, Volkswagen workers reject union

|About: Volkswagen AG ADR (VLKAY)|By:, SA News Editor

In one of the most closely watched union votes in the U.S. in decades, workers at the Volkswagen (VLKAY, VLKAF) plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted against joining the United Auto Workers union.

A win would have marked the first time the UAW had been able to organize a foreign-owned auto plant in the U.S., as well as a turnaround in sentiment in the traditionally anti-union South.

The UAW’s loss likely will hurt plans to organize other auto plants in the South; two other German-owned plants, Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) in Alabama and BMW (BAMXY, BAMXF) in South Carolina, as well as a Nissan (NSANY, NSANF) plant in Mississippi, have been among its top targets.

The UAW enjoyed some unusual help - the cooperation of Volkswagen management and the aid of Germany's IG Metall union - yet it still lost; "If the union can't win [in Chattanooga], it can't win anywhere."