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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — When the ballots are counted Friday night at a Tennessee Volkswagen factory, the totals will mean more than just a decision on representation by the United Auto Workers union.
At stake is the future of the union and perhaps organized labor in the United States as the UAW makes a crucial move toward recruiting in the south, an area with a growing manufacturing base that traditionally has spurned its advances.
This time, the union appears to have more going for it because Volkswagen has tacitly endorsed its efforts. But that’s also why a loss would signal little hope of organizing other foreign-owned plants.