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Auto blogThu, 26 Sep 2013 16:00:00 EST
The United Auto Workers is in hot water with some of the very workers it is trying to unionize at Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant. According to The Tennessean, eight Volkswagen factory workers have filed complaints against the UAW with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the union "misled or coerced" them into formally asking for union representation.
The UAW has instituted a major push at the Chattanooga plant to represent the 2,500 hourly laborers that build the VW Passat by using what's called a card-check process. The tactic is opposed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense foundation, the group representing the workers. The card-check process demands that a company recognize a union that obtains the signatures of more than half its workforce, according to The Tennessean. This tactic is in contrast to the more traditional route, which sees employees vote on union representation.
The workers filing the complaint claim that the UAW told them the cards merely called for a secret ballot, rather than an outright demand for union representation. Workers also allege that the UAW has made it overly difficult to reclaim their signed cards, some of which were signed so long ago that they have been rendered invalid. Although the cards can force a company's hand, federal law still allows the company to ask for a secret ballot before yielding to unionized workers.
Apple fans have been itching to see the tech giant flex the full muscle of its iOS operating system in an automotive infotainment system for years, which is why we turned all sorts of excited when we caught wind of the Volkswagen iBeetle. The machine is headed to the Shanghai Motor Show for a debut, and VW promised it would be one of the "first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple." Listen closely, and you can hear the contented sigh of a million wallets opening.
Go ahead and close those up, kids.
In reality, the iBeetle offers little more than a dash-mounted dock and a special app that shows a few vehicle functions, which is about as far from an infotainment revolution as you're likely to find. In fact, the setup is little more than a factory rehash of aftermarket items, and hardly worth a whole model debut at an international motor show. And that's to say nothing of the fact that Apple relishes in changing the shape and form of its darling handheld at every generation. Volkswagen better be prepared to keep pace with appropriate docking mechanisms for the upcoming iPhone 5S, 6, 6S, et al.
As of the end of November, Volkswagen had sold 70,000 more cars than General Motors in China in 2013, making it appear inevitable that VW will outsell GM there. The feat would return the German brand to the top of chart in China for the first time in nine years, but even the second-place getter won't be complaining too loudly: both automakers sold more than three million vehicles in a market pegged to hit 16 million sales this year.
Volkswagen said it could have sold more cars if it had had more production capacity in China. The arrival of a new-to-China Audi A4, a China-built A3 sedan, the VW Bora and Skoda Octavia, as well as an $18.2-billion-euro investment in the country to construct new factories, means VW should see its numbers grow in 2014. GM's lineup is expanding next year, too, adding four Chevrolet nameplates and two vehicles to its Baojun brand as it tries to get to five million in sales by 2015.
Among other automakers, Ford benefited from good product and woes for Japanese automakers over a territorial dispute with China, outselling Toyota by almost 32,000 units through the end of November. The Ford Focus is China's best-selling vehicle so far this year.