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Workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant may have voted against joining the United Auto Workers union last week but they may still gain some representation in the company through the formation of a works council. The power of such a council, which would be a first of its kind in the United States, would be very limited under U.S. labor law. It could be consulted only on some limited matters rather than negotiate with management on working conditions. And some labor experts say if the workers want to participate in a works council they may have to set up their own independent union to avoid the perception of a company-organized union, which is not allowed under the law.

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