The United Auto Workers’ defeat in a representation election at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant highlights the uphill battle that unions face in attempting to organize workplaces in the South. But labor law experts such as Ballard Spahr’s Steven W. Suflas said the loss won’t keep unions from continuing to test creative strategies to make inroads into that region.

“There are historical and cultural issues that make union organizing more difficult in the South, but the simple fact is, I don’t see organized labor stopping,” said Mr. Suflas, who represents management. “They can’t because manufacturing jobs are the backbone of organized labor membership, and that’s where they are being created.”

Continuing to try and organize Southern workplaces is important to a union like UAW because it increases membership but also because it boosts its bargaining position with employers whose workforces the union represents by taking away the argument that there is competition from nonunion facilities, Mr. Suflas added.

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