The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has announced a bold initiative to organize 13 non-union automakers operating in the United States. This announcement comes in the wake of the UAW’s six-week strike and subsequent successful negotiations of record contracts with the Detroit-Three automakers.
The campaign, unveiled on Wednesday, Nov. 29, casts a wide net, encompassing automakers such as BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Lucid, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Rivian, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. This determined effort from the UAW aims to bring approximately 150,000 autoworkers into the union fold.
Workers are actively showing their support for union efforts by signing electronic cards, showing their interest in exploring the potential unionization of U.S. plants under these automakers’ umbrellas.
It is important to note that the UAW is not guaranteeing the successful organization of every plant or automaker participating in this campaign. The ultimate decision rests with the workers themselves, who will have the opportunity to cast their votes in favor of or against UAW union representation.
The dispute between the UAW and the Big 3 U.S. automakers brought tens of thousands of union members to picket lines, resulting in similar labor agreements across the Big 3. Even President Biden joined the picketers to express his support. These contracts included a substantial wage increase of roughly 25% over four years, along with significant improvements in pension benefits and the right to protest plant closures.
In the aftermath, several non-union automakers pledged to raise worker wages, including Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda. This phenomenon has been called the “UAW bump,” symbolizing the positive impact of the UAW’s negotiations rippling through the industry.
Yet, the UAW has faced substantial hurdles in previous attempts to organize non-Detroit automakers. For instance, recent efforts at Volkswagen and Nissan plants fell short of garnering the necessary support for unionization. Similarly, previous endeavors to unionize Tesla’s Fremont plant in California struggled to gain traction.