QOTD: Will the Union's Volkswagen Victory Pave Way for More?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted to unionize on Friday. But the UAW won't stop there.

According to Reuters, next up for the UAW is a mid-May vote to unionize at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama.

It might be a tougher fight for the union, since, as Reuters points out, Mercedes-Benz is being more anti-union than Volkswagen was. VW was pretty neutral, but MB is making anti-union arguments to its workers.

On the other hand, the results at VW were pretty decisively pro-union. That could provide momentum to the UAW as it pushes to unionize other non-union plants throughout the American South.

A CNN article published last fall after the UAW strike suggests that the union has targeted plants run 10 foreign and three American auto makers. The foreign automakers include BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, while the three American companies are all EV startups: Lucid, Rivian, and Tesla.

That same article points out that Honda, Hyundai, Subaru, and Toyota did give their non-union labor raises after the UAW strike concluded. CNN also reported at the time that the UAW said it would be targeting 150,000 workers across 36 plants.

Even if the vote in Alabama doesn't go the UAW's way, we'd bet that they continue to push for unionization at non-union plants. That said, if they win in 'Bama, they may have an easier time succeeding in future fights.

What say you? Is Chattanooga a one-off or a harbinger of things to come? Or will the UAW's drive end up having mixed results?

As per usual when discussing this topic -- and all topics, really -- please play nice. Be civil. We're watching, and we won't hesitate to spike rule-breaking comments into the ether. Nor will we hesitate to drop the banhammer.

With that said, sound off below.

[Image: Jon Rehg/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 20 comments
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Apr 23, 2024

    Tennessee is a Right to Work state. The UAW will have a bit less leverage there than in Michigan, which repealed R t W a couple years ago. And how much leverage will the UAW really have in Chattanooga. That plant builds ID. 4 and Atlas, neither of which are setting the world afire, sales wise. I'd have thought VW would have learned the UAW plays by different rules than the placid German unions from the Westmoreland PA debacle. But history has shown VW to be exceptionally slow learners. Watching with interest.

    • 1995 SC 1995 SC on Apr 24, 2024

      The meaningful fight will be with the Japanese and Korean plants.

  • CanadaCraig CanadaCraig on Apr 24, 2024

    To heck with the UAW. [Was that nice enough?]

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.