Last year, the UAW outlined a goal of organizing at least one non-union auto manufacturer by the end of this year. If you listen to UAW President Bob King, he still says the same thing, even though they have been unsuccessful so far, and their doesn’t appear to be any signs that they are even getting close.
Most of what we have heard has been generalities on who they are talking to, although King insists talks are going on. A month or so ago it was reported that the union had been targeting the Hyundai plant near Montgomery, but they left after being unable to drum up any support for a union (hard to imagine).
A Bloomberg story even ran with this depressing headline, if you are a UAW supporter at least: “Hyundai Teaches UAW Best Factory Job Doesn’t Need a Union.” (We can only assume that the authors of the story never had class with Ole Miss professor/ union booster Joe Atkins). Nevertheless, headlines like that are obviously not helpful when faced with the already difficult task of organizing workers at these plants.
Post-Hyundai, the rumor was that the UAW had moved up to Chattanooga, home to a brand new Volkswagen plant. One of the early thoughts was that the European manufacturer would be more open toward unions, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Executives at the plant have said they have had no discussions with the UAW and that they wouldn’t be let in the plant, but UAW has attempted a new tactic: trying to find help from European unions. The union says they’ve been talking to workers at the plant, but don’t have an exact timetable on launching an official campaign.
The UAW is currently in the middle of negotiations with GM, Ford, and Chrysler in Detroit. The general thinking is that what happens with this contract could have an impact on what happens in the South. I still don’t see the union ever winning at one of these plants, but if they push the narrative that they helped workers secure a nice, new contract that would be a positive. However, if talks break down, if they don’t get anything better than what the non-union workers have, or if a strike is called (which can only happen at Ford thanks to the taxpayer bailout), it certainly won’t help their cause.
Despite the UAW’s disdain for Toyota closing up shop in California as they were opening up in Tupelo, I have heard of nothing regarding this active, national campaign. Same with Nissan in Canton.