The United Auto Workers (UAW) has launched an unprecedented and ambitious campaign, deemed “the largest organizing drive in modern American history” by pro-labor organization More Perfect Union. This groundbreaking movement aims to unionize a staggering 150,000 employees across 13 major nonunion auto companies in the United States.
Coming hot on the heels of a successful “stand up strike” that lasted six weeks and led to ratified contracts for unionized workers at the Big Three automakers, the UAW is stepping up its fight for economic justice. The union has turned its focus to thousands of workers at various car manufacturing plants nationwide, urging them to rally for fairer compensation and working conditions.
The campaign, announced alongside a new, informative website, highlights the stark contrast between the rising profits and CEO pay at several auto companies against the backdrop of their anti-union stance. The website spotlights firms like Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Hyundai, Mazda, and U.S. electric car giants Tesla and Lucid, shedding light on the widening pay gap and the companies’ reluctance to share their booming profits with their workforce.
For instance, at Toyota, executive pay has surged by 125% alongside a 30% profit increase over the past decade. Yet, the company has been offering nonunion workers a mere 9% raise, a stark contrast to the 25% raise over four-and-a-half years secured by the UAW for its members. Meanwhile, Tesla and Mercedes are also on the union’s radar for their staunch anti-union policies despite significant production increases and soaring profits, respectively.
UAW president Shawn Fain, in a compelling video message, called on workers at these nonunion manufacturers to “stand up and win [their] fair share.” He highlighted the growing discontent and eagerness among autoworkers nationwide to join the union, inspired by the recent successful strike strategy.
Jeff Allen, a worker at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, voiced the sentiment of many: “A union contract is the only way to win what’s fair.” This sentiment echoes in states like Kentucky, where “right-to-work” laws have been implemented to weaken unions.
Fain’s message is clear and resonant: the wealth is there, and workers shouldn’t have to struggle paycheck to paycheck while companies reap billions. “A better life is out there. It starts with you — UAW,” he urges.
This ambitious drive by the UAW marks a significant moment in the labor movement, signifying a renewed push for unionization across the auto industry. It represents not just a fight for better wages and conditions but a broader call for economic justice and equity in an industry where the divide between the corporate elite and the working class continues to widen.