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UAW Local in Alabama Claims Victory

Mercedes found to be in violation of U.S. labor law.

by on Dec.03, 2014

The UAW scored a small victory courtesy of a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board.

The United Auto Workers has won a small victory in its ongoing efforts to organize workers at Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, courtesy of a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The decision upheld an earlier ruling that Mercedes violated federal labor laws by preventing UAW supporters from distributing literature inside its Alabama plant.

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It also mandates that Mercedes update its employee handbook to say that workers are allowed to discuss union issues during non-work times and that they can solicit their colleagues in mixed-use areas like team centers and atriums. (more…)

UAW Secures Mercedes Local Unit

Second union local reveals new organizing plan.

by on Oct.06, 2014

Dennis Williams, UAW president, said the union is still plans to organize entire plants in the South. Photo credit: UAW.

After a major setback in its attempt to organize a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee earlier this year, the United Auto Workers captured its second small victory by chartering a new local at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama.

The new local, Local 112, is essentially a group of plant employees who want representation. It will represent any interested employees who join the local as members. No employees will be required to join, according to Gary Casteel, UAW’s secretary-treasurer.

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The plant in Tuscaloosa County is the only Daimler plant in the world that does not currently offer employee representation, noted Michael Brecht, vice chairman of the Daimler Supervisory board. The plant currently manufactures C-Class sedans. (more…)

UAW Implements New Strategy for VW’s Chattanooga Plant

Local union structure may offset decades of defeat in southeast.

by on Jul.10, 2014

The UAW is creating a new local union to represent pro-union employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant.

The United Auto Workers union is down, but not out. After its recent efforts to organize Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the union said it would not abandon the plant and it’s readying to make good on that promise by creating a new local union to represent pro-union workers at the plant.

The new local will not be the official representative of the workers at the plant until a majority of the workers inside the plant can vote again. The UAW suffered a demoralizing defeat when it lost a representation election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board by a 712 to 626 margin.

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However, Dennis Williams, the UAW’s new president, said organizing the transplants remains one of the UAW top priorities. In addition, Berthold Huber, president of Germany’s IG Metal union, said in an interview during a recent visit to Detroit, the influential German Metalworkers was prepared to support the UAW’s drive in Chattanooga regardless of how long it takes. (more…)

Tennessee Senator Blast Both Volkswagen and the UAW

VW moves forward with plant to create “works council” at US plant.

by on Sep.11, 2013

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has blasted the United Auto Workers Union’s bid to organize employees at the Volkswagen AG assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. in remarks also highly critical of the company’s German managers.

VW executives said last week in a letter to workers at the Chattanooga plant they are in talks with the UAW about the U.S. union’s bid to represent workers at the factory using an “innovative model,” which would be a milestone in the UAW’s long-running – and so far unsuccessful — effort to organize foreign-owned auto plants.

Corker told Reuters that VW executives at the Chattanooga plant were “forced” to sign the letter.

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In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Corker said Volkswagen would become a “laughingstock” if it goes through with a deal to have the UAW represent workers at its Tennessee plant. Corker also said he was dismayed when VW last week sent a letter to employees regarding its discussion with the UAW about creating a German-style works council at the Chattanooga plant.


UAW Membership Posts Rare Gain

But is it more than a temporary turnaround?

by on Mar.31, 2011

A 2011 Ford Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant.

Things haven’t been going well for the United Auto Workers Union in recent years.  The maker has not only had to grant significant concessions to Detroit’s Big Three automakers, but membership has been steadily declining – the result of the Motor City’s decline as well as the impact of productivity gains.

After years of decline, however, things may be turning around.  The UAW has filed its annual report with the U.S. Labor Department, showing the first increase in membership in recent memory – though the union’s rolls remain but a fraction of their one-time peak.

The UAW’s 2010 LM-2 report shows membership increasing from 355,191 in 2009 to 376,612 in 2010.  But that’s still down by nearly half from 2001, when membership stood at 701,818.  The long-influential UAW’s rolls peaked in 1979, when it counted 1.53 million dues-paying members.

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“We are pleased that our membership increased in 2010 by 21,000,” said UAW President Bob King. “This increase is a reflection of new organizing by the UAW, the recovery of the domestic auto industry and UAW members who won a first contract during the year.  We hope to continue this growth in 2011 and beyond, as we fight to win a more fair and democratic process for workers to organize unions in the United States,” he said.


Toyota and UAW Headed for Battle?

Union could target Japanese giant in bid to organize “transplants.”

by on Jan.20, 2011

Organizing the transplants could be critical to the UAW's survival, warns King.

The long-stalled bid to organize foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines has become the single over-riding priority of the United Auto Workers Union.  And it could be leading to an epic battle between a weakened union and a “damaged” automotive giant.

Two decades ago, the transplants were little more than an after-thought, but these days, with foreign brands controlling more than half the American car market – and a major share of the “imports” actually being built in the U.S. – the organization drive could be essential to the UAW’s survival, acknowledges the union’s new president, Bob King.

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Earlier this month, King fired a warning shot at an automotive conference in Detroit, alerting industry leaders that the UAW will ramp up its recruiting drive – and likely focusing on one key manufacturer to spearhead that effort.  While the choice of a target may take another 90 days, King broadly hinted that Toyota may find itself in the crosshairs.

“This is about whether we survive as a meaningful force in America or not,” said King, during a conference in Washington, D.C.