UAW says more than 1,000 workers at VW plant in Tennessee have signed cards demanding union representation


DETROIT (AP) — More than 1,000 workers at Volkswagen’s Tennessee factory have signed a card authorizing a vote on representation by the United Auto Workers, seeking a UAW to organize more than a dozen non-union factories. It is the first plant in the country to reach that milestone.

The union said in a statement Thursday that the VW workers signed up less than a week later.

About 3,800 people are employed at the Chattanooga factory that builds the VW ID.4 electric vehicle and the Atlas family of gas-powered SUVs. This could become the first test of the union’s strategy of trying to organize non-union plants together.

The UAW statement said workers on Saturday complained of mistreatment by management, including mandatory overtime, and are demanding higher wages. A message was left Thursday seeking comment from VW.

In November, VW gave workers at the plant an 11% wage increase. The increases came after UAW members ratified new contracts with Detroit automakers. The union says VW’s wages are lower than workers at UAW-represented auto plants.

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The UAW agreement with General Motors, Ford and Jeep maker Stellantis includes a 25% wage increase until the contract expires in April of 2028. With the cost of living rising, workers will see about a 33% increase for top assembly wages. $42 an hour, plus annual profit sharing, the union said.

less than two weeks later Ratification of new contracts Detroit automakers, with the UAW Plans announced Attempting to organize together workers in non-union plants, most of which are owned by foreign-based automakers.

The UAW says the campaign involves about 150,000 workers largely in factories in the South, where the union has had little success in recruiting new members.

The campaign will target US plants operated by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo. Also on the union’s list are US factories operated by electric vehicle sales leader Tesla, as well as EV startups Rivian and Lucid.

The union says its strategy includes calling elections in factories when about 70% of workers will sign up.

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