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2014 North American International Auto Show

UAW to increase its dues, unionize at VW's Chattanooga plant by June

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

UAW President Bob King addresses the Automotive News World Congress on Jan. 15, 2014.

 

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria1025@yahoo.com

 

 

|

DETROIT -- UAW President Bob King was one of the keynote speakers at the Automotive News World Congress at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit. He talked about restoring the American Dream. The union's mission has been to secure a decent and just standard of living for workers, to make certain workers share in the company's success and give a voice to the interests of working-class Americans. This is very important to ensure democracy.

The UAW President said his members will “overwhelmingly support” a 25 percent dues hike. This will be the first increase in dues for the union since 1967. On paper, it is equal to two and a half hours per month instead of just two. King said the extra funds will be used to support the Strike Fund, which currently holds $600 million. He would like to get it back up to $1 billion.

"Together, we built a great middle class and a great democracy, a shining example to the rest of the world," King said. "Unfortunately this has faded. Globalization is not the enemy, technological change is not the enemy. It has been taken over by domination of corporate interests. Profit seeking of the wealthy and powerful has dominated and only benefited the few. Trade agreements that protect profits but not people, made companies outsource jobs and people are easily exploited. A culture of greed gave executives outrageous paychecks while workers' wages were stagnant or declined. The income and wealth gap is greater than any time in the past 100 years."

As unionization has declined in America, there is a fear of losing their jobs when they want to form a union. As we come out of the crisis in 2008, the UAW had to figure out where we've been and where we want to go forward. In a changed economy, unions must change also. We had to confront all challenges. We are confident we are moving in the right direction.

The UAW President hopes to unionize employees of Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant by this June. He said most of the workers have already signed a declaration of intent. King also hopes to represent workers at Daimler and BMW factories in Alabama and South Carolina. Nissan is another part of the UAW's growth strategy, but it is facing some opposition at the moment.

"Unions and collective bargaining are the most effective anti-poverty program," he added. "Workers should share the wealth they create. He also stated that the UAW and all unions bear a major role in rebuilding the middle class."

The UAW of the 21st century has adopted four priorities:

  1. Partnership with employers. We must jointly problem solve, expect cooperation, trust and respect.
  2. Support workers' organizing efforts. It is our core mission to support the rights of workers to freely form unions.
  3. Engage with global labor unions for mutual support. There are our sisters and brothers not competitors.
  4. "Coalitions for social justice. Equality for all and fighting for civil and human rights, women's right, LGBT issues, immigration reform, protection of the environment and faith groups is our goal."
In conclusion, he says, the UAW is strong, determined and confident of our path. We are proud of our legacy of creating the American middle class and we are dedicated to restoring the American dream for our children and their children. We will never give up on the American dream.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer session with Jason Stein, Publisher & Editor of Automotive News.

Why was there a membership dues increase?
Bob: The base rate for our long-term members did not increase. Our work to support workers in Mexico are paid poverty wages. It requires funding for better wages and contract.

Is the two-tier wage structure here to stay?
Bob: Equal pay for equal work. Don't know and don't want to say anything.

Are workers being stretched too far by working too much overtime?
Bob: We are working with the companies to determine how much worker's overtime is too much or too little.

What do you think of Obamacare?
Bob: Clearly Obamacare is the right path but there are some improvements that need to be made. It has been proved to be beneficial to us and helped our VEBA.

Membership has plunged 30 percent since 2005.
Bob: Haven't seen the final figures yet. But we'll see that the UAW will continue to grow larger with a larger percentage in the years ahead.

For more information about the United Auto Workers (UAW), visit www.uaw.org.

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PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

King said his members will “overwhelmingly support” a 25 percent dues hike.

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The UAW President hopes to unionize employees of Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn. plant by this June.

 

PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Jason Stein, Editor and Publisher of Automotive News

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.COM

King answering questions from the media following his speech.

 

This page was last updated on Fri, February 14, 2014 9:21 PM

 

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