UAW Want to Unionize South Starting with VW Chattanooga

The United Auto Workers union has been trying to establish a foothold in the foreign automakers operating in the Southern part of the US. Its main target right now is Volkswagen's new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where 1,900 workers assemble the 2012 Passat, due to hit the US market in September.

UAW has been trying to unionize the South for over 30 years now, with not much to show for its efforts, but VW might be a different case altogether. The union’s southern region director Gary Casteel told the Associated Press that VW has a tradition of union workers globally, so company management and workers are "more willing to talk to unions about representation." In addition, USA Today points out that VW had a unionized plant in Pennsylvania before it closed in 1988.

"Any decision on representation belongs to our employees alone,"
said a VW statement from spokesman Guenther Scherelis. "One of Volkswagen's core values is the basic right of employees to have a voice in the company."

UAW tried several months ago to get an organizing effort going at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama, but says workers showed little interest. "The problem is there is so much intimidation and fear out there," said a UAW official, who added that workers at some auto plants are paid as little as $12 an hour.

One hurdle could be Tennessee’s Senator Corker, who argues UAW would be "highly detrimental" to stateside VW plant. Corker claims that his dealings with the UAW during the bailout of Chrysler and General Motors is the reason he's so sour on the idea in his home state. The senator claims that the UAW put the success of the automakers recovery behind the needs of union, adding "I just can't imagine any company of their own accord of being desirous of entering into a relationship with UAW."
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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