A common myth: the auto industry is dying. The reality: no, it's increasing employment but largely in NON-UNION assembly plants in the South owned by foreign companies like Mercedes and Nissan, and at independent parts suppliers. Let's see if this breaks open some new opportunities.
Via The Wall Street Journal:
The United Auto Workers union expects Volkswagen AG to make an announcement this week that would pave the way for the union’s local bargaining unit in Chattanooga to be recognized at the German auto giant’s U.S. manufacturing plant.
News of the potential announcement was shared in a letter sent to voluntary members of a UAW unit formed this summer after the union failed to officially organize the Tennessee plant. In that letter, provided to The Wall Street Journal, Local 42 President Mike Cantrell said “we await details from the company...our expectation that Volkswagen will recognize Local 42 is based on discussions that took place in Germany last spring, between representatives of the UAW and Volkswagen.”
In February, as many know, the UAW lost the NLRB-sponsored representation election amid widespread interference by right-wing anti-union organizations and individuals, including Sen. Bob Corker. There was much debate, among pro-union advocates, about how the organizing campaign had unfolded--principally, whether the UAW had done enough to contact workers--but what is not debatable is that the anti-union forces illegally interfered in the election and intimidated workers by threatening the loss of jobs.
Then, in April, the UAW withdrew its challenge, based on the documented illegal interference, which had been filed at the NLRB.
I'm going to guess that there were already contacts between the company and the union about what has now transpired. Indeed, in September, the UAW said it had established a Local there in the wake of the withdrawal of the charges:
Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer, said roughly 750 Volkswagen workers have joined a recently formed union local in Chattanooga, Tenn. The drive comes just months after the UAW narrowly lost an organizing vote that sought authorization it to represent the site's 1,500 hourly workers.
Mr. Casteel said the labor union is asking VW to accept it as a representative for those workers who joined the UAW local. In July it formed Local 42 with some employees after talks with Volkswagen, UAW officials said, despite originally agreeing not to organize for a year if it lost the February vote.
We will see whether this comes to fruition and whether it helps fuel more organizing among the so-called "transplant" foreign auto companies in the South.