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Autoworkers won big pay hikes. They plan to leverage it against Tesla and Toyota

today 11/01/2023
The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is preparing to organize campaigns at non-union automakers with the hope that the recent wage and benefit gains in tentative agreements with Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis will encourage unionization efforts in the US auto industry. However, the UAW's plans to organize Tesla and other non-union automakers face significant challenges. Despite the UAW's declining membership and the need to gain a foothold at non-union automakers, obstacles such as management resistance, unfavorable labor laws, employee surveillance, and anti-union sentiment in the South hinder unionization efforts. Even if the union's attempts fail, the contract agreements could pressure non-union automakers to increase wages and benefits preemptively. Companies often hire "union-avoidance" consultants to dissuade workers from voting in favor of a union, and negotiations on pay and benefits can be prolonged, benefiting employers. Weak protections for labor organizing and anti-union laws in the South further complicate the UAW's efforts. Although the UAW has faced rejections at foreign-owned plants in the past, the recent victories against Detroit automakers put the union in a better position to succeed in organizing campaigns at foreign automakers. Despite challenges and corruption issues, experts believe that the UAW's successes and intent to recoup organizing losses will lead to more organizing efforts based on the recent settlements.
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