published Sunday, May 27th, 2012

Business Briefcase: German unions won't aid UAW

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    Garrett Jackson polishes a Passat at the Chattanooga Volkswagen Plant.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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A top German union official will explain to hourly employees at Volkswagen's U.S. plant in early June that his group will not pressure them to join the United Auto Workers union, the automaker's top labor representative told Reuters.

The UAW is relying heavily on the IG Metall, which has members on VW's works council, to help it organize German-owned U.S. plants because the German union has influence with VW management.

While the VW works council supports the UAW's efforts to organize workers at the company's plant in Chattanooga, it will not use its influence to help the U.S. union, works council chief Bernd Osterloh said at VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. The works council is the labor counterpart to company management, consisting of representatives from all the factories and brands in the VW group.

"Of course, we will support the UAW; we've said that all along," Osterloh told reporters. "But there's one thing we cannot do. We can't take workers at VW Chattanooga by the hand when it comes to voting (on UAW representation). One has to be in favor if one wants union representation."

Osterloh said works council general secretary Frank Patta will outline the labor group's position to the Tennessee factory workers in early June.

Planners approve Alexian project

Town planners approved a $30 million expansion of Alexian Village on Signal Mountain last week, clearing the way for construction of a modern health and rehabilitation center.

Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors submitted plans for the self-funded project for state approval in January. The new construction will replace a nearly 30-year-old, 114-bed building.

The new 100,000-square-foot facility will offer seniors private rooms and modern amenities. The Catholic senior care organization also plans to renovate existing buildings, including the interior of its historic inn.

Unum wins claims award

Chatanooga- based Unum Corp. captured a national award for the clearest language for their brochure on how to submit a disability claim.

The Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting clear and concise language in business, said Unum's document made the reader feel as if the company cares about them by mentioning who the document is for and what it can be used to achieve.

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