UAW attacks on more fronts to push for foreign automaker control image

The goal – owing to the involvement with VW’s Tennessee plant – only recently surfaced. But Bob King – the union president – has signaled the importance of signing workers at the foreign-owned auto factories in the American South as far back as January 2011.

When he targeted at least one Southern plant by that year’s end, many outsiders saw it as a very long shot. And King, which at 67 is too old to run in June’s election under union rules, has yet to achieve a victory. Now, the union said last month it secured the majority of workers at the 2-year-old Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga and support from within VW to set up a German-style works council at the plant.

“It looks like they are having real traction, but the closer they get to victory in Chattanooga, the more intense the opposition is going to be,” said Harley Shaiken, a professor who specializes in labor issues at the University of California, Berkeley. “This is not by any means a sure bet. But they’ve gotten a lot closer than most analysts would have predicted.”

A win in Chattanooga would be key for the 78-year-old UAW union, which has lost in recent decades it huge influence in the auto industry. Import brands took market share from the Detroit three and managed to skid union-friendly states when they began local car manufacturing. Analysts and UAW officials forecast that a positive result at one facility could pave the way for numerous other victories.

Via Automotive News