Labor Notes Auto Workers Try a New Angle at Volkswagen

Auto Workers Try a New Angle at Volkswagen

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VW workers staged a several-hour “warning strike” in Zwickau, Germany, on May 13, demanding a 5.5 percent raise. German plants have a dual representation system with both a union, which can strike, and a works council, which is pledged not to. The United Auto Workers have asked VW to agree to a similar set-up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo: I. Pastierovic/IG Metall.

The United Auto Workers, so long frustrated in their attempts to organize foreign-owned auto plants in the U.S., may have found a different way in.

When Volkswagen began building its VW Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2011, and union organizers began talking with workers, UAW President Bob King also sought help from the metalworkers union in Germany, IG Metall. Continue reading “Labor Notes Auto Workers Try a New Angle at Volkswagen”

Bob King, Workers Laid Off by Bain Show a Romney America

09/06/2012; Tula Connell

In 2008, at the height of the recession, Mitt Romney declared that government should “let Detroit go bankrupt” rather than providing federal aid to automakers. President Obama was a lot smarter than that. As a result of federal assistance, General Motors (GM) posted record profits and paid back its loans early, Chrysler paid back all its loans and hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are on the job who otherwise would be out of work (click on chart to enlarge).

Karen Eusanio, a UAW Local 112 member and second generation autoworker, is one of those workers. Speaking last night at the Democratic National Convention, Eusanio recalled her struggle to support her children after GM laid her off, and the unpopularity of Obama’s plan to save the auto industry. Yet, President Obama didn’t think about the polls or the politics, said Eusanio. Continue reading “Bob King, Workers Laid Off by Bain Show a Romney America”

Unions dig in for Obama despite disappointment with his record

By Kevin Bogardus – 09/03/12 09:48 PM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Organized labor is working hard for President Obama, looking upon him as the lesser of two evils compared to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Labor has been repeatedly let down by Obama, who didn’t put his strength behind legislation that would have made it easier to organize unions and signed trade deals opposed by workers.

Unions only reluctantly supported his healthcare law, which lacked the public option championed by labor. And they were deeply upset by his decision to extend the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy in a December 2010 deal with congressional Republicans. Continue reading “Unions dig in for Obama despite disappointment with his record”

Nissan Workers In Mississippi Say They Are Making Strides In Effort To Join The UAW- 08/31/12

Nissan Workers In Mississippi Say They Are Making Strides In Effort To Join The UAW- 08/31/12

8/30/2012

By Doug Cunningham

Nissan workers in Canton, Mississippi are interested in getting a real voice at work by joining the UAW. An effort has been underway for months there to bring the 3,000 workers employed at that Nissan plant into the union. Raphael Martinez is a pro-union Nissan worker who says the organizing effort is going well, despite an effort by Nissan management to disparage the union and intimidate workers into being anti-union.

[Raphael Martinez]: “We believe that this is important because we need to have a voice in what’s going on. We believe that this is not us against them, but it’s how we can work better together.

Martinez says Nissan workers in Canton, Mississippi haven’t had a raise in nearly five years and have seen their health care benefits erode. Weekend work schedules also are hard on family life and leave workers little time for proper rest before having to come back in to work. The UAW wants Nissan to agree to a set of fair representation principles before any union election is held so workers get a truly fair shot at deciding whether or not to join the UAW.

[Raphael Martinez 2]: “If the election is not going to be fair, we don’t want it. But we are encouraged by the fact that we are making strides, you know, we are moving ahead. Things are lookin’ real good. We feel good about what we’re doin’ and we feel very, very confident about our chances.”