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Posts Tagged ‘United Auto Workers Union’

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…)

UAW, Outside Groups Battle as Critical Vote at VW Plant is Set to Begin

Vote could determine fate of auto union.

by on Feb.10, 2014

Workers at Volkwagen's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., will vote this week to determine if the UAW will represent them.

Pro-union workers from Volkswagen of America’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., have called for an end to the interference in their election by outside special interest groups and politicians.

Workers at the big plant will vote this week in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that could prove critical to the long-term viability of the United Auto Workers Union which has long struggled to organize employees at the growing number of foreign-owned “transplant” assembly lines.

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Following the announcement of the election, conservative-leaning groups like the National Right to Work Committee, and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform launched an intense campaign in Chattanooga aimed at swaying the outcome of the vote. Among other things, they have posted a billboard featuring pictures of the Detroit’s Packard Plant, which closed more than half a century ago, and blamed the union for the Motor City’s woes. (more…)

Struggling for Cash, the UAW May Raise Dues for 1st Time Since 1967

Membership down by nearly 75%.

by on Dec.03, 2013

The UAW is considering raising its membership dues for the first time since 1967.

Its membership tumbling sharply and a long-running effort to organize foreign-owned makers still in limbo, the United Auto Workers Union is looking at the possibility of raising its dues by 25% – for the first time since 1967.

While still considered the richest of America’s unions, the UAW has faced increasing troubled in recent years, with membership declining, organizing efforts stalling and rising costs forcing it to slash expenses. Despite an estimated $1 billion in assets, there have been ongoing concerns about the UAW’s long-term viability, as well as its political clout.

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According to a report from the Reuter’s news service, the Detroit-based autoworkers union would like to raise dues by as much as 25%. For the average worker, that would amount to paying the equivalent of 2.5 hours wages per month, up from the current 2 hours. Dues vary depending upon pay grade, however, so if the increase is approved, a veteran line worker at one of the Detroit Big Three would pay about $70.32 a month, while a recently hired employee on a second-tier pay scale would shell out around $39.45. (more…)

Mississippi Caught Up In Nissan-UAW Battle

UAW claims Nissan not living up to promises made to state for aid.

by on Jun.04, 2013

Nissan is not living up to its promises with the Canton, Miss. plant claims the UAW.

The state of Mississippi has found itself caught up in the increasingly contentious dispute between Nissan and the United Autoworkers Union.

The state improperly offered millions in aid to entice Nissan to build its big factory in Canton, Miss., while the maker is allegedly failing to meet the promises it made in return for a reported $1.33 billion in aid, according to a report by a pro-union, Washington-based think tank.

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Nissan and its supporters, however, dispute that claim as just another frantic effort by the UAW to prop up a faltering drive to organize the Canton plant’s workers. Despite an organizing drive that has the backing of Southern civil rights groups, the union has not called for an election, suggesting it is having a tougher go than it expected.

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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.

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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.

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UAW Ready to Pick Target in Bid to Organize Non-Union “Transplants”

by on Mar.24, 2011

Workers celebrate during the dedication of the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, in 2003. But will they embrace the UAW if given the chance?

The United Auto Workers Union is close to picking the automaker that will serve as the target of what it vows will become the largest consumer boycott in the history of the global economy — all part of its effort to organize workers at non-union plants in the Southeastern corner of the United States,

However, UAW president Bob King suggested there may be a way around the threatened confrontation.  The union is having discussions with a number of transnational makers operating non-union plants in the Southeast to see if it can coax them into abiding by a set of principles that would open the door to organizing drives on company property. The principles would insure the campaigns would be free of the corporate intimidation that has marked past UAW drives, King said.

“This is the UAW of the twenty-first century. We can help them improve their quality and efficiency,” he insisted. “We can help them compete successfully in the global economy just as we have at Ford,” he said.

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The union is prepared to back up its push with a substantial global campaign to punish automakers which don’t want to accept the union’s offer, said Dennis Williams, UAW Secretary Treasurer, who is attending this week’s national union convention.

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Detroit Rewards Salaried Workers With Big Bonuses

But could that touch off trouble with hourly employees?

by on Feb.14, 2011

Workers on and off Detroit's assembly lines will be seeing bonuses this year.

Chrysler Group and General Motors are using bonuses to reward salaried employees who survived the long, bitter recession.

Almost 11,000 salaried workers at Chrysler will receive an average bonus of $10,000, according to various reports.  But the planned handout may touch off a rift in the company’s ranks, according to employees familiar with the plans, who indicate many employees believe the rewards are inherently unfair and biased against blue-collar workers.

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Meanwhile, GM’s 26,000 white-collar workers will also see performance bonuses this year, the automaker has acknowledged. While GM hasn’t released its final financial report for 2010, the maker also appears to pay its 53,000 U.S. unionized hourly employees profit-sharing checks amounting to $3,000.

Ford has been relatively cautious on salaried pay, limiting raises but promising merit bonuses equal to 10% of base pay to select salaried employees.

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Detroit Adding More Jobs, Says UAW’s Gettelfinger

Union boss delivers strong praise for domestic makers.

by on May.24, 2010

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger is taking a more proactive role in dealing with the Detroit Three.

United Auto Workers Union President Ron Gettelfinger sees more new jobs in the U.S. auto industry as the nation begins its slow economic recovery and praises the current Chief Executives of the Domestic car and truck manufacturers.

Speaking to the Birmingham Senior Mens Club the outgoing head of the UAW said the Big Three are focused on product and committed to growing manufacturing in America.  His comments were surprisingly upbeat and positive about industry management – a sharp contrast with the many past rebukes delivered by the union.

Regarding the domestic manufacturers, Gettelfinger called the Ford Motor Company team assembled by Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Allen Mullaly “second to none.”

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Gettelfinger said General Motors CEO Ed Whittaker is progressive and committed to growth in the US.  He cited the decision to build the Chevrolet Volt, an extended-range eletric vehicle, and the establishment of a factory to build batteries in Michigan as a major plus for the state and the nation.

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UAW Membership at Lowest Level Since WWII

Declining membership complicated by financial problems.

by on Mar.31, 2010

Bob King, the incoming president of the UAW, will inherit a union that is now less than a quarter of its size 31 years ago.

Membership in the increasingly troubled United Auto Workers Union has dropped to its lowest level since the end of World War II, even as the union struggles to deal with worsening financial problems.

The UAW lost some 76,000 members just between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, according to reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The union finished fiscal 2009 with 355,000 active members, the union report said, less than a quarter of the 1979 peak, when the UAW’s dues-paying ranks topped 1.5 million.

The decline in membership is only part of the Detroit-based labor organization’s problems.  It ran $2 million over budget, last year.  Meanwhile, disgruntled UAW members recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards, charging top union officials with using their offices to give friends and family members jobs.

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