As Volkswagen Workers Vote for Union Representation, Secret Ballot Elections and Robust Debate Must Be Protected

On April 19, the NLRB announced Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted in favor of union representation. The vote was held via secret ballot in an NLRB-supervised election at the workplace.

The following statement can be attributed to CDW Chair Kristen Swearingen:

“Secret ballot elections are the gold standard for a reason. They guarantee workers can fully vote their conscience without undue pressure from others. Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, had an opportunity to vote via secret ballots in an election supervised by the NLRB and in the most accessible location for all of the workers — the workplace. All workers considering unionization must be given this same opportunity to ensure they can make their choice without intimidation, harassment, or coercion from anyone.

Time and time again, data proves that in-person elections held via secret ballots under NLRB supervision at the workplace result in the highest voter participation. The NLRB should hold such elections wherever and whenever possible to guarantee that workers’ true wishes about representation are implemented.

“CDW remains concerned about efforts to silence employers during organizing drives. In January, 33 Senators urged auto companies currently targeted by UAW to pledge to remain neutral during the unionization campaign. Demanding neutrality harms the election process and infringes on workers’ right to be fully informed before voting. Workers must be able to hear robust debate about the merits of unionization before making such an impactful decision.”