By on June 3, 2014

2014 UAW Constitutional Convention

Automotive News reports Volkswagen Global Works Council General Secretary Frank Patta addressed the 1,100 attendees in Cobo Hall during the first day of the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. Through a translator, Patta urged the union to wage a new fight for the VW factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. — where both unions lost the right to organize workers in a close election back in February — proclaiming the election “was stolen” by outside anti-union politicians and political groups. Finally, he vowed that his works council will continue to back the UAW in all of the latter’s efforts to organize non-union shop floors throughout the Southeastern United States and elsewhere, believing the efforts will see both parties ultimately prevail in their respective goals.

On the sidelines, outgoing union president Bob King was looking for “great, open discussion and debate,” as well as “a unified UAW to come out and fight for the best” for the union’s membership of 390,000. King will be leaving a lot of unfinished business behind once the delegates choose their new president later this week, including particularly among organizing the transplants in the South. The union will also have to navigate successfully through collective bargaining with the Detroit Three next year, where wages and two-tier systems promise rough seas.

Speaking of wages, King took the podium to make the case for increasing dues to help recharge the union’s strike fund, currently sitting at $630 million from its peak of $930 million in 2006. The due increase — the first since 1967 — will add a half-hour of pay per month to the two hours of pay devoted to the union, bringing less than $50 million annually if implemented. The vote to increase dues will take place Tuesday, and will only be voted upon by the convention attendees.

Finally, The Detroit News says the likely future president of the union, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams, will continue the fight in the South for organization. Williams plans to send Gary Casteel to meet with workers at the Daimler plant in Vance, Ala. — assuming UAW representatives haven’t been evicted by then — to discuss concerns over the slow pace toward holding an election at the plant. While the union may be on shaky ground among the transplants, Williams said the UAW will remain the South for the long-term, and for those who believe otherwise to “get used to” the union’s presence.

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7 Comments on “First Day Of 2014 UAW Convention Emphasizes Continuance Of Southern Strategy...”

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Let’s not forget that Ford’s Atlanta Assembly plant in Hapeville, GA closed in 2006, and GM’s plant in Doraville, GA, closed in 2008. Both were UAW, so it’s not as if the UAW’s presence unknown in Dixie. Chattanooga and Vance are a short drive from Atlanta, at least by Southern standards. And if you’re driving from Atlanta to Vance, you can’t miss the non-UAW Kia and Hyundai plants.

    There will be icebergs in the Chattahoochee River before the UAW honestly organizes a plant down there.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, but the UAW onslaught on employers NEVER ends. It’s like a terminal disease, a terminal case of cancer of business.

      Eventually, the UAW will get in and kill their employer like they did GM and Chrysler.

      It’s happened before. It will happen again, IF the employees choose to let it.

  • avatar

    Public service unions I have no time for – from the taxpayer point-of-view they are an imposed single-source supplier, and around these parts regularly hold the public to ransom. Overpaid in relation to to private sector workers, and constantly whining about being overworked and underpaid, they don’t live in the real world. And they tend to have gold-plated pensions.

    Private sector unions I am generally in favor of, unlike the prevalent attitude around here.

    But, what I am opposed to on principle is allowing foreign union types to have any influence in my country, making silly remarks about votes being unfair. It’s not any of their damn business. The US State Department should escort this guy right back to Germany.

    And VW should get it through their thick heads that they are operating in a foreign country as a guest. If that doesn’t suit their global policy on works councils, well tough. Leave.

  • avatar

    GM, Ford, and Chrysler have been their biggest employers, how about focusing on making these companies stronger competitors in a difficult business environment.

    • 0 avatar

      You could hope so. But the UAW has only ONE concern and that is itself and the feeding of their fatcats from the work and toil of its members.

  • avatar

    Everything I need to know, I learned from Monty Python.

    “Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ’em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. . . . “

  • avatar

    “First Day Of 2014 UAW Convention Emphasizes Continuance Of Southern Strategy”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but if their current “southern strategy” has not worked and is not working, perhaps they should emphasize *changing* their strategy. This certainly seems like a case of “If you always do what you’ve always done…”

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