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UAW May Get Chance for Vote at VW Plant

Move could prove critical for union’s future.

by on Apr.05, 2013

Workers at the new VW plant in Tennessee may soon vote on union representation.

The United Auto Workers appears to be edging closer to an up or down vote on union representation at the new Volkswagen AG manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee thanks to support from the German Metal Workers union, IG Metall.

IG Metall representatives at Volkswagen, including a member of the company’s supervisory board, have come out in favor of United Auto Workers representation in Chattanooga in a letter that was distributed to workers at the U.S. plant. Union representatives sit on the supervisory boards of German companies and have a critical role in setting company policy.

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With VW’s top American executive also showing a willingness to consider a union bid this could be a breakthrough moment for the struggling union. It has seen membership shrink massively in recent decades due both to downsizing by the Detroit-based Big Three and its inability to organize at foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines.


UAW Targeting Nissan’s Mississippi Plant

Pitting worker against worker?

by on Jun.12, 2012

The first Nissan Altima rolls off the automaker's Canton, Miss. assembly line.

The deeper you go into the South the less friendly it has traditionally been to unions.  But the United Auto Workers Union is hoping that by targeting Nissan’s big assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi it finally can crack the door and get a foothold into the growing network of foreign-owned automotive assembly plants.

Since taking the helm at the once all-powerful UAW in 2010, President Bob King has made it a top priority to organize the so-called “transplant” assembly lines, a goal his predecessors have failed to achieve since Honda opened its plant in Marysville, Ohio three decades ago.

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The union has reportedly been looking at several possible targets that show signs of being more willing to consider an organizing drive, including the new Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. But it appears leaders see their brightest opportunity in Canton and may take the unusual step of pitting workers there against employees at Nissan’s other assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.


Will Nissan Be UAW’s First Target?

Organizing “transplants” critical to union’s future.

by on Dec.08, 2011

UAW President Bob King knows it will be difficult to organize the transplants.

As important as it was to win new contracts from Detroit’s Big Three over the summer, United Auto Workers Union President Bob King has made it clear that the “most important” goal during his tenure will be to begin the long-stalled process of organizing the foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines that now dot the American landscape.

In the more than quarter century since the first, a Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, opened, only three have voluntarily accepted the UAW – all because they were U.S.- Japanese joint ventures, one of which has now closed. Efforts to organize the other foreign-owned factories have failed, so far.

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Now, it seems, the UAW is ready to try again, and while King told the Associated Press there’s no deadline nor official target, the wire report says it is “crystal clear” to union leaders that they need begin by targeting Japan’s second-largest automaker, Nissan.

It wouldn’t be the first time.  But an earlier drive at the maker, which operates assembly plants in Mississippi and Tennessee – the latter near its U.S. headquarters – fell flat when workers voted the union down. This time, the UAW appears to be hoping to tap worker frustration at the Canton, Mississippi plant where it claims the company is committing what the union described as both civil and human rights violations.