CHATTANOOGA, TN—Workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant here workers voted in favor of union representation in their workplace last week, marking the first time a foreign-owned automotive factory in the South has unionized.

The vote was administered through a democratic, secret ballot vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. A total of 3,613 votes were cast, which is 83.5 percent of employees who were eligible to vote, in the April 17-19 election.

Some 2,628 votes, or 73 percent, were in favor of representation by the United Auto Workers (UAW); 985 votes, or 27 percent, were cast against the union.

Since winning record contracts from the Detroit Three automakers last year, the UAW has renewed its efforts to organize foreign-owned automotive assembly plants in the South, which has traditionally been hostile to labor unions.

The UAW’s next target is expected to the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Vance, AL.