UAW Hopes For Swift Southern Unionization Victory 'Overly Optimistic'

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
uaw hopes for swift southern unionization victory overly optimistic

Outgoing United Auto Workers president Bob King admitted that his timetable for a swift unionization of one of the auto plants in the Southeastern United States was overly optimistic.

Though the UAW is still slogging through efforts at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. and Nissan’s Canton, Miss. plants, King hopes that the VW workers will become card-carrying members before union rules bring his four-year term to a close in June 2014. King believes the only thing holding back the assimilation is the process in which to bring UAW membership to a vote, stating that a “strong majority” of the VW workers have submitted cards in support of joining the union.

In his speech at the Automotive News World Congress last week during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, King said that while workers in European and Japanese auto plants throughout the United States were not opposed to UAW membership, past organizing efforts have been hampered by employers through intimidation tactics and threats of unemployment. King further claimed that without the current push to bring the workers under their umbrella, jobs in the automotive industry would come to consist of “low-wage, temporary labor working under unsafe conditions” in the 21st century.

On the other side, Volkswagen and Nissan — the latter specifically called out by King for their alleged anti-unionization efforts — both stated that they would respect the wishes of their factory employees in whatever they decided to do regarding the UAW.

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  • Ect Ect on Jan 20, 2014

    The transplants followed the same strategy as IBM, locating their plants in smaller centres where they'd be the biggest employer and where there was no union tradition. They seem to have done a good job of keeping wages & benefits near enough to D3 levels that it's not possible for the UAW to promise to get more money for them. In fact, transplant workers have probably seen that they get wage/benefit increases comparable to what UAW plants get, without having to unionize or go on strike. If they do treat people well enough to derail the "respect" issue, then it's hard to see how the UAW could win an election.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jan 21, 2014

    'If it ain't broke why fix it?' The reality is nowadays there are so many regulations and laws protecting the individual, why do we need unions? Maybe these jokers, like all other far left individuals, ie, greenies, should go to countries that need them. There work is done here. Oh, they'll end up in prison or deported. Maybe the UAW needs funds. The people they represent, I mean the UAW tax base is slowly dwindling. All they have to do is put out a prospectus displaying their previous performance. Hmmm, about as good as Chrysler or GM. Maybe the government can bail out the UAW, like they did for the Big 3 ;) Believe it or not I'm not anti union. I'm anti poor leadership, management and waste. The UAW represents all of these dismal attributes.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Jan 21, 2014

    Labor relations is simple,to quote GMI Prof Dean: "The union comes to the table and always wants the same thing, "MORE! NOW!" Management's response is always the same as well. "You can have whatever you want, just don't touch our pocket books."" King knows he needs to regain a monopoly on NA production to have the power, and membership he seeks. The UAW has NA competition for jobs these days. The UAW with a few hundred thousand members is a mere shadow of its former size. Union employment continues to decline across America. The ugly reason is that they drive cost structures which can not compete in the global arena. They put their employers out of business. GM spinoff, Delphi, at one time accounted for a quarter of the global auto supplier segment, irrc. The company provides a detailed illustration. They are profitable everywhere except NA, where they closed 28 of 30 plants and sold the other two. The union strike is fundamentally the same thing as a mugger threatening to hit you over the head with a bat if you don't give him what he demands. Other than that nasty foundation of their power, they are fine.

  • GST GST on Jan 22, 2014

    Don't forget Eastern Airlines as an example. Pilots and Stewardesses agreed to some wage cuts, different work rules, Mechanics did not. Eastern had to pull the plug. Younger readers probably do not know about historic Eastern Airlines. From years of reading about the topic, I conclude that it is not wages that are the biggest union problem, but antiquated work rules are. A city manager of a now bankrupt and liquidated international courier company told me he had to spend 75% of his time daily dealing with union driver greivances.

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    • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Jan 23, 2014

      @doctor olds Oddly enough, most all of the same people are running the company and doing very well. You imagine you understand a lot more than you actually do.