United Auto Workers, the powerful U.S. auto union, is targeting foreign carmakers, whose workers have repeatedly refused to enter the organization.
According to Reuters, German manufacturers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG are seen as easier nuts to crack than the Japanese and South Koreans. Failure to win new members in recent years has affected UAW’s finances, forcing it to sell assets and use its strike fund to pay for its activities. UAW president Bob King has appealed to German unions for help and has called on automakers to do the right thing, hoping to get VW and Daimler to let the union make its case directly to workers.
UAW believes that if car companies don’t oppose the organization, workers at German-American factories will agree to join the union. Workers know however that almost all jobs lost at U.S. car factories in the last 30 years were at unionized companies, while almost all jobs gained were at non-union companies. In addition, most of the plants the UAW is targeting are in the South, which is historically hostile to unions.
So far, German companies declined to comment on UAW’s push, but privately they are cautious of the union and its confrontational past. „They view the UAW as a disaster,” a Wall Street banker was quoted as saying by Reuters.