UAW And VW: A Done Deal With More To Come?


The AFL-CIO with the assistance of powerful foreign unions will aggressively push the right to organize and gain recognition in the U.S. by leveraging foreign unions, employers, and political structures against global employers doing business in the U.S.  They must in order to survive.

UAW officials met with labor representatives of Volkswagen to discuss the organization of 1,400 workers at the automaker’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The German paper Handelsblatt said this meeting followed meetings between UAW President Bob King and top German labor officials, intending to explain the system of labor representation at Volkswagen.  King wants to organize one of the so-called transplants located mostly in southern states, to help invigorate the union, and VW is the target. VW, Europe’s largest carmaker, has a long tradition of working with unions, including Germany’s powerful IG Metall, and crafting innovative accords to preserve jobs.

  • “For Volkswagen, it’s a matter of course that its employees are unionized and the decision is up to our colleagues in the United States.” said Michael Riffel, the head of Volkswagen’s global works council.
  • “One of Volkswagen’s core values is the basic right of employees to have a voice in the company,” said Guenther Scherelis, a spokesman for the Chattanooga plant.
  • “We work hard to provide an environment that fosters teamwork and collaboration. If our employees feel the need for it, any decision on representation belongs to them,” he said.

Last week, Gary Casteel, director of the UAW’s southern region, said workers at the Chattanooga plant had reached out to the union, and there had been discussions with VW executives. But he said no official organizing drive was under way. Really?  Volkswagen also is leaning strongly toward building another U.S. plant, which would produce the Audi.  More food for thought:

  • United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has moved to the edge of their seat as Wal-Mart continues to work with unions abroad, but not at home.
  • The UNI Global Union which has pushed Wal-Mart so hard on the above is at the edge of their seat as the United Food and Commercial Workers missed on the right to bargain on behalf of 250 Target employees in New York a few weeks ago.  They’ll be back.
  • Communications Workers of America president, Larry Cohen continues to edge in his seat as German union Ver.di leaderWilhelm Ado continues to his efforts here in the U.S. to organize T-Mobile USA, whose network is owned by Deutsche Telekom.
  • French Sodexo union leaders Jean-Michel Dupire and Gerard Bodard continue to support SEIU organizers here in the U.S. and inother countries.
  • According to the Alliance IBM, a network of IBM unions around the world met in May to form a Global IBM Union.
  • The AFL-CIO’s organizing institute, and specifically the UAW affiliation has interns from around the world taking center stage.
  • Union Summer is under way in North Carolina, and one should not think that Charlotte is the site of the 2012 Democratic National Convention is coincidence.
  • Germany’s IG Metall, the world’s most powerful union, has established an organizing department partnered with Change to Win’s that has targeted wind-turbine manufacturers and auto dealers here and abroad.

I could go on, but the point is that U.S. labor leaders are in fact soliciting and receiving support from some of the most powerful unions in the world for the purposes of organizing global employers doing business here in the U.S.  Further, they are targeting Millennials as a significant foundational underpinning of these efforts.   I’m not saying they can or will, but I am saying that their behaviors indicate that at some level, they believe they must do these things in order to survive.

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Posted on July 15, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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