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UAW targeting 13 non-union automakers in latest organization efforts

Adam Schultz
The White House
UAW members at the GM Willow Run Distribution Center on Sept. 26, 2023, in Belleville, Michigan.

Fresh off the contract ratification with Detroit’s Big Three automakers, the United Auto Workers union is taking aim at organizing 150,000 workers at 13 non-union car companies, UAW President Shawn Fain announced Wednesday.

“Big Three auto workers at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis just won big raises, more job security, and cost of living adjustments for one simple reason — they’re organized,” Fain said in a video about the new organizing effort to increase its ranks. “Don’t auto workers at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru and Mazda deserve a record cut of those record profits?”

Fain said the UAW is going after what he calls the German Three: Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes.

The union says thousands of workers have already signed union cards.

“The response from auto workers at nonunion companies has been overwhelming,” Fain said. “Workers across the country, from the west to the Midwest — and especially in the south — are reaching out to join our movement and to join the UAW.”

Many foreign automakers put their factories in southern states where union participation is lower. During the latest round of negotiations with the UAW, executives from GM and Ford stated that having an organized workforce put those companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Several non-union automakers — including Honda and Toyota — announced earlier this month they would raise wages for workers following the UAW deal with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.

Russ McNamara is a reporter and host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners.