UAW's Fain gives plan for unionizing non-union auto workers

Written by Ethan Bernard

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain outlined the union’s strategy to unionize non-union auto workers in the US. Fain named it the “30:50:70 strategy” in a Facebook Live update on Dec. 11.

SMU has previously reported that non-union workers at 13 automakers are making moves to join the union.

The first step involves workers at a non-union plant forming a union organizing committee.

“When 30% of your coworkers sign union cards, you’re ready to go public with your organizing committee,” Fain said.

He stated that when 50% have signed union cards, “I will personally join you for a rally in your town.”

“When 70% have signed cards … we will demand that your company recognize the union,” he concluded.

He said the non-union automakers operating in the US have so far responded with both the “carrot and the stick.” This is in response to non-union workers’ reaction to contracts obtained by UAW with the “Big Three” Detroit-area automakers.

Fain described the carrot as the raises and bonuses offered at automakers like Honda and Toyota in the US.

As for the stick, he said this was allegedly punitive action by the automakers as non-union workers attempt to organize.

In a press release also on Dec. 11, the UAW said organizing workers at Honda in Indiana, Hyundai in Alabama, and Volkswagen in Tennessee have filed charges against management for “illegally union-busting as workers organize to join the UAW.”  

Honda workers “report being targeted and surveilled by management for pro-union activity at the company’s Indiana Auto Plant in Greensburg, Ind.,” the union said. “Hundreds of workers at the facility have signed union cards and are organizing to join the UAW.”

A spokesperson from Honda told SMU in an emailed statement that “Honda encourages our associates to engage and get information on this issue.

“We have not and would not interfere with our associates’ right to engage in activity supporting or opposing the UAW,” the spokesperson added.

As previously reported, at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, more than 1,000 workers have signed union cards. Employees there have also reported harassment from management, according to the UAW.

Meanwhile, workers at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Ala., plant have reported “interference and intimidation,” the UAW said.

Spokespersons for Hyundai and Volkswagen did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

Ethan Bernard

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