March 6, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Detroit, MI – Sensing “a doubling or tripling of interest” in union representation from workers at nonunion auto plants, the United Auto Workers is escalating its efforts to organize at Nissan, Volkswagen, and Tesla.
UAW Treasurer Gary Casteel told the Detroit Free Press that he wasn’t sure what was causing that interest, but he said it might be the increased attention on the loss of manufacturing jobs, or the gains the union made in the contracts it signed with the Detroit 3 automakers in 2015. At Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California, the union is still at the stage of talking to workers and seeing if enough are interested. At Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, it expects to turn back the company’s court challenge to the 2015 vote that created a bargaining unit of skilled-trades workers. At Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi plant, where more than 80% of the workers are Afro-American, it’s joined with local civil-rights and church groups to demand that the company meet with union workers. In January, it held protests at Nissan dealerships in six Southern cities. “It’s just not fair to the worker for us to willy-nilly go out there and file for an election,” Casteel said. “Our endgame is we are going to keep putting pressure on that company.” Read more