The United Auto Workers is continuing to push toward unionization at manufacturing facilities owned by foreign automakers. According to Reuters, UAW President Bob King has said that a number of foreign companies have agreed to confidential discussions with the union and that "some progress" has arisen from the talks. No one from the organization has outright said which companies are speaking with the UAW or which, if any, are growing warmer to the notion of an organized workforce. Even so, UAW secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams has indicated that there may be a unionized foreign-owned plant by the end of this year.

As Reuters points out, the UAW hasn't exactly had the best track record when it comes to convincing workers in foreign-owned plants to join their cause. Despite the organization's best efforts, plants owned by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz have all remained union-free. Now the UAW is doubling its efforts on Volkswagen with the company's new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Attracting a new plant would likely help the union's flagging membership rates. Since 2000, the UAW has seen its roster plummet by 44 percent.


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  • 118 Comments
      hp
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm curious to hear what the argument for going union would be... at this point I can imagine the conversation with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz going like this: Union reps: "Just look at our reputation in the public eye, the cars we build, and the employees we have. Above automakers: "GTFO"
      Duk3ofN3rd5
      • 3 Years Ago
      UAW, take down one profitable automaker at a time. Should be their slogan :)
      djvinnybricks
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still fail to see how people think the unions are a bad thing, it is obvious these people do not have a clue. Growing up the son of UAW-member parents, I was always told that I had the union to thank for their job security (if you call being forced to move the family halfway across the country twice in 5 years due to plant closings 'job security') and adequate pay to keep rent paid and food on the table. Yes, rent. Despite being "overpaid" union autoworkers, my parents were in their 50s before they were able to buy their first home. I have not been so lucky to ever have that level of job security for myself, and I can only hope to one day be a member of the UAW or similar union (although I admittedly have absolutely no desire to go back to factory-type work).
        Synthono
        • 3 Years Ago
        @djvinnybricks
        I'm of the view that unions can be a force for good, but the UAW has gotten extremely corrupt and is more about collecting more dues than it is about fighting for workers. The fight to unionize these factories has nothing to do with workers being mistreated, but everything to do with getting more dues collected.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          [blocked]
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          [blocked]
          Adrian
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          @Invisibleblog If you're going to make such an idiotic comment, at last spell BARACK Obama's name correctly.
          Synthono
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          Twitter: What does the birth certificate have to do with anything at this point? He has been president for three years and was allowed to assume that post, so the people in charge of verifying citizenship are convinced enough that rambling on about it won't change their minds. As a result, the birth certificate is not relevant anymore. At this point, those who dislike Obama and his presidency SHOULD have one focus - examining his first term, finding policies and decisions to criticize, and finding an alternative candidate who can stand against him in the upcoming election. But no, you're not doing that, you're still banging on about a stupid birth certificate, and all it does is make your viewpoint less legitimate and make it appear as though you have no real complaints about Obama's leadership. Frankly, if you can't be bothered to look at his policies and try to convince people he should be replaced strictly on those policies, just don't talk about politics, because you have no business doing so. Election campaigns should be fought on policies and viewpoints, not technicalities and conspiracy nonsense.
          Adrian
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Synthono
          at *least*.
      Carlos Oliveros
      • 3 Years Ago
      I dont get this. Unions are supposed to come out of internal organizations, with no pressure or influence from any outsiders. If the workers at foreign-owned plants want a Union, then I hope they start one for their own good, but why should UAW meddle in their business? They act like a political group, which I believe is what they have actually become and defeats the purpose of a real union.
        WitnessX
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Oliveros
        I do believe y'all hit the nail on the head there, old bean.
        ojfltx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Oliveros
        Precisely Carlos. Unions as they are currently structured serve no purpose. I believe that is why these foreign owned plants are not unionized. People simply do not see an advantage to being unionized.
        GMan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carlos Oliveros
        Because more members = more $$$ union dues for Bobby.
      bobmarley
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know if the UAW does this but the construction union around here pay unskilled labor to protest in front of non union jobs and sometime they load them up in school buses and drive around town yelling pro union chants around town...they should be ashamed of themselves. If you have to pay people to protest for your cause its probably a bad cause.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      dss10
      • 3 Years Ago
      I worked in Lordstown one summer and found the whole UAW totally out of control. Its was really easy for high seniority members to make ~100K given their rights to overtime and job titles when you could buy a nice house for 40K. The problem with the UAW is that they refuse to take a stake in the companies that they have contracts with. In Europe they have strong unions that provide both job security and training which they accomplish by establishing a "works council" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_council ) which gives workers the opportunity to participate in management and even have board representation. When your union is part of the management structure you start to see a whole lot of mutually cooperative behavior as opposed to one side trying to rip off the other. I think that there is a place for unions but the structure that they use in the US helps no one but the UAW senior management in the long run.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dss10
        [blocked]
          Bird2112
          • 3 Years Ago
          Equal??? Equalization??? I suggest you read Animal Farm, comrade.
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unions were once the only decent source of pensions, healthcare, disability insurance, unemployment, and other services for middle income Americans in the manufacturing sector. Over time, unions have pushed for the federal government to assume all of these responsibilities which means unions have no purpose except to raise nominal wages and total compensation at every available opportunity. Perpetual nominal wage increases are the antithesis of labor stability, and the union has been forced to shed workers (UAW blames corporations) to increase labor productivity. The UAW is not concerned with the plight of American workers. It is a country club organization that is only concerned with protecting the "desirable" members. I have no idea what makes certain workers more desirable than others, but the union apparently has some decision making criteria that makes some workers worthy of compensatory praise and other workers worthy of termination. I don't really have any problem with unions, but the way American unions are managed is despicable. The UAW need to understand that outside forces are not responsible for the demise of American labor unions. Labor unions have committed suicide.
        WitnessX
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mylexicon
        "I have no idea what makes certain workers more desirable than others..." Their willingness to drink the UAW Kool-Aid.
      GMan
      • 3 Years Ago
      UAW, just...just go away. Take your BS and go away.
      FTW
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am all for fair pay but these autoworkers need to realize that they are manual laborers not engineers, or even skilled workers. So they don't deserve to be paid like it. Union's were great when they first started but now they are a burden.
        darkness
        • 3 Years Ago
        @FTW
        Your right those others get paid more.
          xxxZOMBIExxx
          • 3 Years Ago
          @darkness
          No they don't. Go find an engineer or a skilled laborer that makes over 100 grand...if you find one they are probably working over 80 hours a week. I worked in the engineering community at GM. I've seen what lead engineers drive and I have seen what the senior line workers drive. Its not hard to tell that the line workers make more.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @darkness
          [blocked]
      TheHorta
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unions: Not satisfied until there are no domestic jobs remaining. Who are the primary beneficiaries of unions? Mexico, China, India, and dozens of other Third-World countries with a bottomless cheap labor pool.
        rlog100
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TheHorta
        No labor in America, union or non-union, is competative with those countries. Not even close.
          misterpepper
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rlog100
          You're probably right, but when you factor in other costs like shipping the cars back from overseas, non-union labor comes a lot closer to profitability than unionized labor. And the cost to move production overseas is a lot harder to justify the closer everything else comes to profitability.
        Blake
        • 3 Years Ago
        @TheHorta
        So due to executives, whose pay skyrocketed compared to regular workers, deciding they'd rather build cars elsewhere of pay union wages, it's the UNION'S fault, because how dare they ask that their wages not stagnate! They should just all get paid 90 cents an hour, work 80 hour weeks with no days off!
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Blake
          [blocked]
      Xedicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      "If a company makes the bad business decision to engage in anti-union activity, suppress the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, we will launch a global campaign to brand that company a human-rights violator," King said in a Jan. 12 speech in Detroit. "We do not want to fight, but we will not run from a fight." ... ... What a great way to convince people to get on board, rolling out threats right at the very beginning. To Mr. King, I find your debate / negotiation skills suspect. Human rights violations are a very, very serious set of crimes here in the states, and someone not wanting to listen to you hardly qualifies. If anything they're simply exercising the rights that you're claiming to protect with such a slanderous statement. As much clout as the UAW may have, your targets are of a much greater class, and I sincerely hope that they'll eventually work together to bring you and the UAW to ruin. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/06/22/bloomberg1376-LN5NIM0UQVI901-5D3JFN4CKLI8GTMS68V7BBS67T.DTL&ao=all#ixzz1SlCPipEV
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Xedicon
        [blocked]
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