Hyundai to UAW: best factory job doesn’t need a union

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 24, 2011

The UAW has a daunting challenge ahead of it to convince workers at a foreign-car factory in the U.S. that they need to organize a union. Several union representatives have gone to Hyundai Motor Co. assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., to talk to the workers there.

One of them is Rocky Long, who said that he doesn’t have any problems in the factory and so he doesn’t see the value of creating a union.

UAW President Bob King has made a pledge that he will organize a foreign automaker in 2011 to increase its bargaining power past the U.S. companies it has been in negotiations with for the past 70 years.

Detroit is busy refurbishing the old plants but the foreign automakers are constructing and expanding the factories in the U.S. The union aims to revive membership ranks that fell by 75% to 376,612 last year from achieving a peak of 1.5 million.

Considered obstacles to the UAW are the increasing sales and additional investments at Hyundai's Alabama complex and sites like affiliate Kia Motor Corp.'s factory in Georgia.

So far, King and his organizers are not getting such a welcoming vibe from those who are working at these foreign-owned assembly plants, which are mostly located in the south regions.

Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., said the UAW will have to persuade workers, who believe that they have the best jobs, that they need such a thing as a union.

Topics: hyundai, uaw

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