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UAW gains majority support at Volkswagen’s Tennessee facility

Published 07/02/2024, 05:52 am
Updated 07/02/2024, 05:52 am
© Reuters.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union said Tuesday that they have gained majority support from employees at Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p)'s Tennessee plant, marking a significant step in their effort to expand.

This achievement marks a crucial step forward in the UAW's ambitious plan to organize non-union plants across 13 automakers, encompassing approximately 150,000 workers. The Tennessee plant becomes the first to surpass the 50% support threshold, a pivotal moment under U.S. labor laws.

According to U.S. regulations, a company can officially recognize and enter into negotiations with a union once a majority of its workers have signed up. The UAW intends to seek recognition when it reaches a 70% sign-up threshold, emphasizing the importance of substantial backing from the workforce.

Zach Costello, a VW employee and member of the Tennessee plant's UAW organizing committee, expressed enthusiasm, stating, "Momentum's picked up in a big way." The UAW, having recently succeeded in strikes against major automakers, believes that the tide is turning in its favor.

Volkswagen, on its part, underscores its commitment to maintaining a "world-class production environment" at the Chattanooga plant. The company stresses its belief in fostering "frequent, transparent, and two-way dialogue" with its employees, highlighting a dedication to open communication.

Despite past setbacks, the UAW remains optimistic about its ongoing organizing efforts. However, the road ahead may not be smooth, as the Center for Union Facts, a business-backed nonprofit, plans to launch billboards critiquing the union's political stances, contracts, and past corruption scandals in cities, including Chattanooga.

UAW President Shawn Fain remains undeterred, citing recent victories in Detroit as evidence that workers can achieve seemingly impossible goals.

“I was told I was crazy for what we were asking for,” Fain said. “I know people say it’s crazy going after all these companies — I don’t think it is. I think workers are ready. I think now is the time.”

The outcome in Chattanooga is crucial for gauging broader success, with the UAW emphasizing the importance of winning this campaign.

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