The Volkswagen plant would boost UAW's flagging membership, way down because of plant closings and automation. It represented more than 1 million people at auto assembly plants in the 1980s, but only 155,000 at GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler today.
At stake in Lordstown, Ohio, are the livelihoods of more than 1,400 plant workers and thousands more indirect jobs in the surrounding area of northeast Ohio, a key swing state in presidential elections.
Gerard Di Trolio, David Bush and Doug Nesbitt
The problem facing autoworkers isn’t simply one or two bad rounds of negotiation, but a race-to-the-bottom pattern of bargaining. At the heart of this mess is the company pitting workers against each other in a competition to save jobs.
"I guess maybe I am a romantic, but I look at the American labor movement as a holy crusade, which should be the dominant force in this country to fight for working people and the underdog and make this a more just society." -- Ed Sadlowski (USWA)
The National Labor Relations Board's decision on Columbia University graduate students seeking to unionize only applies to private colleges. Organizing rights for graduate students at public colleges depend on each state's labor laws. Graduate students have formed unions in more than a dozen states.
Volkswagon announced they will add 2000 workers at their Chattanooga, Tennessee plant. The UAW said they will establish Local 42 there.Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer, said Volkswagon is willing to recognize them as a "minority union"