After UAW Wins Big In Tennessee, $40M Campaign Continues: 35 Car Plants Are Next

Zinger Key Points
  • A five-day election is scheduled to start May 13. Two Mercedes-Benz plants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will vote next.
  • The recent Chattanooga victory was the UAW’s first win in a Southern plant owned by a foreign automaker.

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain is gearing up to organize more nonunion automaker factories on the heels of a major victory at a Volkswagen VWAGY plant in Tennessee.

What Happened: Fain told multiple media outlets on Monday and over the weekend that the UAW’s $40-million campaign to get more union votes will proceed.

The goal is to unionize autoworkers in at least 35 non-union U.S. plants currently under the banner of major manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz Group MBGYY, Tesla Inc TSLA, BMW BMWYY, Toyota Motor Corp TM, Nissan Motor Co Ltd NSANY and Hyundai Motor Company HYMTF.

The UAW won an election victory Friday at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Seventy-three percent of the vote favored unionizing. Previous elections in 2014 and 2019 were unsuccessful.

According to the Associated Press, Fain said pundits bet against the UAW in the South where roughly 150,000 workers are at non-union factories.

"But you all said, ‘Watch this,' " he told a group of Volkswagen organizers on Friday night. "You guys are leading the way. We're going to carry this fight on to Mercedes and everywhere else."

See Also: Elon Musk Is ‘Epitome Of Everything That’s Wrong With This World,’ Says UAW Chief Shawn Fain

Why It Matters: The Chattanooga victory is the union's first win in a Southern car facility owned by a foreign auto manufacturer.

Volkswagen is based in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Previous losses at the Volkswagen facility were blamed on a federal investigation into bribery and embezzlement under previous leaders.

But unions credit new leadership for their favorable contracts that came about on the heels of 2023’s strike among Detroit automakers.

The successful union vote in Tennessee also underscores a changing tone across the South during an election year. President Joe Biden joined a UAW picket line in Michigan, and expressed support for the Volkswagen workers who voted on Friday.

"Together, these union wins have helped raise wages and demonstrate once again that the middle-class built America and that unions are still building and expanding the middle class for all workers," Biden said, according to a White House statement.

What’s Next: A five-day election is scheduled to start May 13. Two Mercedes-Benz plants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will vote next.

The UAW also accused Mercedes of violating global supply chain law, which the Stuttgart, Germany-based company denied, stating its recognition of employees' rights to organize.

Now Read: Autostreets In The Driver’s Seat As China Gets Set For Used Car Trading Boom

Image: Shutterstock

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