UAW says it aims to organize nonunion auto plants

UAW says it aims to organize nonunion auto plants

After winning big gains in wages and benefits from two of Detroit’s three automakers, the United Automobile Workers union is looking beyond the Motor City to car companies operating non-union factories across the South.

In a speech to union members live-streamed on Facebook Sunday night, UAW President Shawn Fenn said the union plans to make a push to organize plants at some non-union automakers such as Toyota, Honda and Tesla. Is made.

“One of our biggest goals coming out of this historic contract win is to create an event like we’ve never done before,” Mr. Fenn said. “When we return to the bargaining table in 2028, it will not be just with the Big Three. It will be the Big Five or the Big Six.

The statement was one of Mr. Fenn’s clearest statements yet that the UAW intended to renew efforts to unionize plants at foreign-owned automakers and Tesla, which operates non-union vehicle plants in California and Texas. Is.

The UAW has previously tried to unionize Southern auto plants – where workers typically earn well below top UAW wages – but with little success. Although it has unionized some small component plants in the South, and represents workers employed by heavy truck manufacturers such as Mack and Freightliner, it has not been able to organize plants owned by any major automaker there.

Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted against UAW representation in 2014. Workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., did the same in 2017. UAW organizers have also tried to drum up support at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama.

Mr. Fenn said increased wages and benefits in a tentative contract agreement with Ford Motor would help the UAW and other unions win benefits for working-class people.

Harley Shaiken, an emeritus professor University of California, BerkeleyThe man, who has followed the UAW for more than three decades, said the tentative agreements with Ford and Stellantis should improve the UAW’s image and boost its prospects in the South.

“The union is not back to where it was 30 years ago in terms of influence, but it is a step toward restoring power to the UAW and unions in general,” he said.

On Sunday, the UAW council that oversees negotiations with Ford approved the tentative agreement reached with Ford on Wednesday. In a statement, Ford said it would provide an assessment after ratification on how the contract affects its business.

On Saturday, the union announced it has a tentative contract agreement with Stellantis, the maker of Chrysler, Jeep and Ram vehicles.

The agreement closely follows the terms reached with Ford, a methodology known as pattern bargaining. Stellantis also agreed to reopen a plant in Belvidere, Illinois, which had been closed this year, and to retain an engine plant in Michigan and a machining factory in Ohio, which the company had planned to close. Had considered.

Union workers have begun returning to work at three Ford plants that were hit by a growing wave of union strikes. It is expected that Stellantis employees will start returning to work in the next day or two.

The UAW began its strikes on September 15 and eventually grew to include approximately 18,000 workers at three Ford vehicle plants and more than 14,000 workers at two Stellantis plants, which make pickup trucks and jeeps, along with 20 Stellantis parts distribution warehouses.

The union continues negotiations with General Motors, and on Saturday expanded its strike against the automaker, asking workers to walk out of a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee. All told, approximately 14,000 UAW workers are on strike at GM. Other affected locations include plants and 18 parts warehouses in Missouri, Michigan and Texas.

In a statement, GM said it was “disappointed” by the extension of the strike, adding, “We have continued to bargain with the UAW in good faith, and our goal is to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Fenn used much of his address to outline the details of the union’s tentative agreement with Ford. It demands significant wage increases for many of the company’s 57,000 UAW workers. By the end of the agreement’s four-and-a-half-year term, most workers will earn $40.82 an hour.

This now gives workers a 25 percent increase to a top wage of $32 an hour; For some workers at the bottom of the pay scale, wages will more than double. At the new top wage, workers working 40 hours a week will earn about $84,000 a year. Profit-sharing bonuses and overtime work will enable many UAW members to earn more than $100,000 per year.

The temporary deal also gives workers additional paid leave, including two weeks of paid family leave and paid time off for jury duty. It also allows temporary workers, who currently make $16.67 an hour, to gain permanent status after 90 days and reach the top salary in three years.

If the agreement is approved by a majority of Ford’s UAW workforce, most workers will receive an immediate 11 percent pay raise and a $5,000 bonus each.

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