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GM, Ford, FCA Kick Off Negotiations with UAW

Union looking to get its piece of the automotive recovery.

by on Jul.13, 2015

Past UAW President Bob King shakes hands with Ford Chairman Bill Ford as negotiations began in 2011 on the now expiring contract.

The overall economic impact of the negotiations between the domestic carmakers and the United Auto Workers on wages across the U.S. has waned over the years, but the inherent drama of the talks lives on as the two sides get down to bargaining this year and the stakes are as high as ever.

The negotiations, which open today with an official handshake between General Motors executives and top UAW officers, promise to particularly eventful – and unpredictable – because of the climate change that surrounds the 2015 negotiations.

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After all these are the first negotiations since the 1990s that follow a streak of five very profitable years, noted Kristin Dziczek, an analyst with Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. (more…)

UAW Plans to Demand Hourly Wage Increase in Next Deal

Union boss says he’s looking to end two-tier wage system.

by on Dec.15, 2014

UAW President Dennis Williams wants a pay increase for hourly workers in the next union contract.

Hourly workers Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group have earned a pay increase and it will be one of the key demands the United Auto Workers puts on the table when contract talks open next summer.

“A general wage increase is important to our members and to our nation,” said UAW President Dennis Williams, who took over the UAW presidency in June from Bob King, during a year-end meeting with reporters at UAW headquarters in Detroit.

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Williams also noted the expectations for a pay increase are rising among the union’s membership, Williams said. “The companies are profitable again and there is expectation there. In 2008 and 2009 we had a disaster. We made sacrifices,” he said. (more…)

UAW Foresees Labor Contract with Volkswagen Plant

Maker’s recognition at Chattanooga facility first step in process.

by on Dec.10, 2014

Gary Casteel, the UAW's Secretary Treasurer, said VW's recognition opens the door for discussions on any number of topics. (Photo credit: UAW)

The United Auto Workers expects Volkswagen’s recognition of the union at the company’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will lead ultimately to a labor contract with the German automaker.

Gary Casteel, the UAW’s Secretary Treasurer and leader of the union’s organizing effort in Chattanooga, said Volkswagen’s recognition opens the door for discussions on any number of topics.

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While a contract isn’t at the top of the list now since that would require formal legal recognition of the union by VW, but it certainly is a possibility in the not so distant future, Casteel said. (more…)

UAW Defeats Foes in Battle of Chattanooga

Volkswagen acknowledges union’s role as employee representative.

by on Dec.09, 2014

An employee at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant signs on the dotted line allowing the UAW to act as her representative. (Photo credit: UAW)

The United Auto Workers appears to have finally cracked the solidly non-union South.

The UAW said it now has enough employee signatures at the Volkswagen of America plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to serve as their representative in discussions with VW management on both the local and international level.

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“We appreciate Volkswagen’s timely response in verifying UAW Local 42’s substantial membership level, which exceeds a majority of workers at the plant,” said Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, who heads the International Union’s Transnational Department. (more…)

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 May “Win” VW’s Tennessee Plant After All

Automaker readying to recognize union as bargaining agent.

by on Nov.11, 2014

The UAW appears to be another step closer to being recognized at VW's plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Despite losing a plant-wide election earlier this year, the United Auto Workers may end up representing the employees at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee due to a change in the automaker’s policy.

The yet-to-be-released policy modification is expected to determine how labor groups at the plant will dealt with in the future. The UAW believes the change means it will be recognized as the bargaining partner for all hourly employees in the facility whether they are formal members of the union or not.

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The UAW says more that half the workers have agreed to be represented by its newly formed Local 42. (more…)

UAW Taking Aim at Toyota

New union chief sets organizing import leader as top priority.

by on Jun.18, 2010

As he takes over from Ron Gettelfinger (l), new UAW head King turns up the heat on Toyota.

Bob King, the newly-elected president of the United Auto Workers, is vowing to take on Toyota on multiple fronts and accused the Japanese auto giant of deliberately abandoning unionized workers in California.

One of the top priorities for the UAW is organizing the rest of the growing Toyota manufacturing network in the U.S.  Until now, the only facility represented by the union was the NUMMI plant, near San Francisco, which Toyota decided to close after the break-up of its joint venture with General Motors.

“We’re not going to wait” for proposed legislation that could impact organizing efforts, said King, who was chosen by UAW leaders during their national convention, this week.  In a fiery speech in which he vowed to return the union to its roots, the UAW President declared, “We’re going to whatever is necessary to ensure that Toyota abandons its anti-union efforts.”


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King invoked the legendary Walter Reuther, who led the union for 24 year until his sudden death in 1970, telling UAW leaders, “We’re all in this together.  We will fight for reform. But let us remember the UAW of the 1930s and 1940s didn’t wait on government legislation. The strike that changed the world, the Flint sit-down strike, was illegal,” said King, referring to the long confrontation with General Motors that effectively created the modern UAW.


UAW Six-Year Deere Deal Keeps Plants Open

Job security is the issue as Great Recession goes on.

by on Oct.05, 2009

The plants stay open but with reduced two-tier wages.

The plants stay open, but with two-tier wages.

Members of the United Auto Workers employed by Deere & Company of Moline, Illinois have ratified a new contract that includes a commitment by the company not to close plants during the six-year term of the agreement.

The union said the contract also includes a $3,500 ratification bonus and wage improvements during the term of the agreement. The company also agreed to improve the pensions of retirees.

Eighty-two percent of the union members voting on the contract approved the agreement covering approximately 9,500 employees at facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Illinois and Georgia.

UAW Region 4 Director Dennis Williams said the agreement included a new apprenticeship program that will give them new opportunities to enhance their skills and transition to better jobs.


UAW and CAW Join Forces in Washington

A so-called legislative alliance will put pressure on lawmakers.

by on Sep.30, 2009


The alliance formalizes the cooperation that began a year ago during the Presidential campaign.

The United Auto Workers and Communications Workers of America have joined forces in what the two unions describe as a “legislative alliance.”

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Larry Cohen of the CWA said each union would contribute staff and other resources to this alliance, which will be responsible for representing the interests of 2 million active and retired CWA and UAW members on legislative issues.

“Through this alliance, the two unions will increase the effectiveness of their legislative efforts in advancing the interests of their members and working families generally. In particular, the alliance will actively support passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, comprehensive, health-care reform, and measures to promote retirement security and fair trade,” Gettelfinger and Cohen said in a statement.

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For all practical purposes, the alliance formalizes the cooperation that actually began a year ago during the Presidential campaign when both unions rallied behind Barrack Obama, UAW officials said. The cooperation was extended during the fight on Capitol Hill over the auto industry bailout, spawning the discussion about the possibility of closer collaboration.


Chrysler Tries Once Again to Trim UAW Rolls

Offers mirror earlier failed attempts to cut protected workforce.

by on May.18, 2009

Chrysler St. Louis South Assembly Plant

It's understandable that workers are reluctant to take buyouts since unemployment keeps rising.

Chrysler is making a new  early retirement offer to members of the United Auto Workers Union at six factories, including two Detroit area plants, which are now slated to be left behind when the “new” Chrysler emerges from bankruptcy.

The offer comes on top of another outstanding buyout/early retirement package that was first presented to UAW members back in February and is set to expire May 26.

The objective of both buyout and early retirement packages is to reduce the size of the company’s hourly work force in the U.S. from 26,000 to about 22,000 or less, according to documents filed with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

UAW members at the Sterling Heights Assembly in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Conner Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit, Kenosha Engine in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Twinsburg Stamping in Twinsburg, Ohio, and two assembly plants in Fenton, Missouri, near St. Louis, have until May 26 to accept the new offers, Chrysler officials said.    (more…)