UAW: Volkswagen Success May Make It Tougher To Organize In The South, Not Easier
Dennis Williams has been elected UAW president since the failed vote at Volkswagen in February. Credit: UAW via Facebook

UAW: Volkswagen Success May Make It Tougher To Organize In The South, Not Easier

Dennis Williams has been elected UAW president since the failed vote at Volkswagen in February. Credit: UAW via Facebook
Dennis Williams was elected UAW president shortly after the failed vote at Volkswagen in February. Credit: UAW via Facebook

The United Auto Workers’ recent recognition at VW in Tennessee – though short of collective bargaining – may make future unionizing more difficult in the region. That’s the opinion of UAW president Dennis Williams, who briefed reporters Monday.

“We believe that every time we organize in the South, it’s going to get more difficult, not easier, because of the outside interests,” Williams said.

The UAW expects even more resistance from Republican officials as the union ramps up pressure at Mercedes in Alabama and Nissan in Mississippi.

So far, the UAW has not thrown a lot of weight into organizing at the largest foreign-owned plant in the U.S., which is Nissan’s Smyrna facility. It’s been more than a decade since the union held a vote there. Since then, Williams says Nissan has made it more difficult with its heavy use of temporary workers.

“They’re in constant fear of losing their jobs. They’re in constant fear of talking about organizing. The way the Labor Act is set up, it’s virtually almost impossible to organize temporary workers in a workplace, even though they are permanent because they are employed by another employers,” Williams said. “It’s a shell game.”

Nissan says they are using more temps, but no more than what is a standard across the auto industry.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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