VW workers to vote on joining UAW union in Tennessee

107390425 1710969126755 gettyimages 2092447823 a9b09027

107390425 1710969126755 gettyimages 2092447823 a9b09027

A Volkswagen automobile assembly plant is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, are set to vote on whether to organize with the United Auto Workers, which would be a significant win for the union. This vote is part of an unprecedented campaign to organize 13 automakers in the U.S. If successful, it would be the UAW’s first major victory outside of the Detroit companies.

However, if the vote fails, it would be a setback for the UAW and President Shawn Fain, who was elected in 2023 following a corruption scandal involving former union leaders. More than 4,000 VW workers are eligible to vote, with the vote needing a simple majority to pass.

The UAW sees this as their best opportunity to organize the VW plant following successful contract negotiations and strikes with the Detroit automakers. The union’s record contracts with the Big Three automakers have created a more favorable environment for union organizing at Volkswagen.

Volkswagen has stated that it respects its workers’ right to organize and will let them decide on union representation. Despite some opposition within the plant, many workers are in favor of organizing to have a voice in negotiations and ensure better wages and benefits.

The UAW has used new contracts and benefits negotiated with Detroit automakers as a rallying call for non-union auto workers to join the union. The union aims to expand its reach beyond the Big Three and secure contracts with a broader range of automakers by the time its contracts with Detroit automakers expire.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is in the midst of a key vote at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to determine if workers will unionize. A win would mark the UAW’s first major victory outside of the Big Three automakers in the U.S. and would provide momentum for the union’s broader organizing campaign of 13 automakers. This effort comes after record contract wins and strikes at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, which catapulted UAW President Shawn Fain to international prominence. The UAW’s success with the Detroit automakers has set the stage for a potentially successful organizing push at Volkswagen. The company has stated that it will respect the workers’ decision on unionizing and has chosen not to publicly oppose the effort. In the past, Volkswagen workers have rejected union representation in votes in 2014 and 2019. However, this time, the union is focusing on a grassroots campaign led by workers at the plant, which may improve their chances of success. Workers are seeking improved wages, benefits, and additional time off, with comparisons being drawn to the UAW-negotiated contracts with the Detroit automakers. Volkswagen workers make between $23.40 and $32.40 per hour, with potential enhancements up to $42 per hour by 2028 under a UAW contract. The UAW is also targeting other non-union automakers in the U.S., with efforts underway at 13 different companies, including Mercedes-Benz, as part of an ambitious expansion strategy beyond the Big Three. President Fain has emphasized the importance of believing in the possibility of change and standing up for better working conditions. The outcome of the union vote at Volkswagen could have far-reaching implications for both the UAW and the broader landscape of labor relations in the U.S. automotive industry.

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