UAW president says that the union’s future depends on organizing overseas carmakers

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 20, 2011

UAW's president, Bob King, said the union's future depends on whether it can organize factories in the United States run mainly by Asian automakers. During the opening of UAW's legislative conference, King said that that companies like Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., and Honda Motor Co. "don't fear us."

He added that UAW must reverse its decades-long slide in membership and its gradual loss of power if it is to survive. In a December 2010 interview with Automotive News, King said his move to unionize the transplants would begin in January 2011.

UAW membership is down to about 400,000 active workers and another 600,000 retirees, and most of its members work at all three Detroit automakers. King hopes to have one successful organizing drive in 2011; however, he would not disclose where the union would start its campaign.

He said the union is weighing a number of factors and is assessing which one it will focus on first, adding that he hopes to make an announcement within 90 days.

The union has never successfully organized a major U.S. auto factory apart from those run by Chrysler, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. An attempt to organize Nissan's Smyrna, Tenn., facility failed and a bid to organize Toyota's Georgetown, Ky., plant in 2007 simply died out. [via reuters]

Topics: uaw, united states

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