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UAW agrees to pay $354.5 million for its own VEBA

The United Auto Workers has reached an agreement to shell out $354.5 million for the establishment of an independent retiree health care trust for its employees – the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association. The creation of the VEBA is part of a proposed settlement of a federal lawsuit filed in December 2014 by the union’s retired staff members who opposed the 2013 changes to its retiree health care program.

The amount is consists of $346 million for the VEBA’s creation and $8.5 million for the administration of the benefits, according to the proposed settlement. The trust would also have its own independent board of directors separate from the union.

UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement that the proposed settlement is similar to the retiree health care settlements that the UAW has reached with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler with respect to UAW-represented employees and retirees.

Read the entire article UAW agrees to pay $354.5 million for its own VEBA

Nissan rejects State Department offer for UAW mediation

Nissan Motor Co. has denied an offer from the United States State Department to have it serve as a mediator in a dispute between the carmaker and the United Auto Workers. The union was joined by IndustriALL Global Union Federation in April 2014 in asking the State Department for its help.

The UAW has been, for over a decade, trying to organize Nissan’s site near Jackson in Mississippi, and has accused the carmaker of using "threats, intimidation and fear" to keep the union out of the plant, which it claims violate guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The UAW’s move to a global union group and the State Department in its bid to unionize workers at Nissan has been regarded part of its campaign to turn public opinion against the Japanese carmaker.

Read the entire article Nissan rejects State Department offer for UAW mediation

Ford to promote newer UAW workers to top wage scale

Ford Motor Co. will promote 55 workers recruited in 2010 to its top wage scale after surpassing the cap on employees earning second-tier wages. These 55 workers were hired from February through June 2010 and are based at the carmaker’s sites in Kansas City, Louisville and Chicago, according to a seniority report posted online by the United Auto Workers union.

In a statement, UAW President Dennis Williams said the workers sacrificed and saved not just an industry, but the American economy.” Ford’s contract with the union requires the carmaker to promote workers – according to the date of their hiring – once it exceeds the maximum number of employees lurking on the second-tier pay scale.

The promotion means that these “entry level” workers would start earning around $28 per hour, from the current rate of about $19 an hour. These workers, however, would still receive lesser benefits than their counterparts hired in 2007 or earlier.

Read the entire article Ford to promote newer UAW workers to top wage scale

UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

The United Workers Union is hoping that it would be recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for workers at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee within a year. UAW President Dennis Williams told Reuters that he had not set a certain date for the union to represent hourly workers at the site over future talks about wages and benefits.

He said that he hoped the UAW would be recognized to bargaining for the workers by the time contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group starts next summer.

According to Williams, UAW already has a majority of VW’s 1,500 hourly workers at the site as members of its local union, UAW Local 42. However, the union, still have to prove that it has the number to VW to be formally recognized as the workers' bargaining agent.

Read the entire article UAW wants to be exclusive bargaining agent for VW Chattanooga workers

The United Auto Workers union and political leaders will gather Monday as part of an effort to keep Jeep Wrangler production at Chrysler’s Toledo assembly site in Ohio, disclosed the office of United States Sen. Sherrod Brown. He noted that the Wrangler’s “proud legacy is matched only by that of the workers at the Chrysler Assembly.”

He will be joining fellow political leaders Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Mayor D. Michael Collins as well as workers, local leaders and community members at UAW Local 12. The event came after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne remarked earlier this month that the next Wrangler may be underpinned by a unibody platform, feature smaller engines and have an aluminum body – changes that could mean a production shift away from Toledo.

He remarked that if Chrysler pursues an aluminum body for the Wrangler, Toledo would be the wrong place and have the wrong setup to build the model, mainly because it doing so would require a complete reconfiguring that would be cost-prohibitive.

Read the entire article UAW and politicians bid to keep Wrangler output in Toledo

Daimler's works council chief and deputy chairman Michael Brecht will take a trip to the carmaker’s Vance assembly site in Alabama to meet with the United Auto Workers to explore possibilities for improving worker representation at the plant.

Daimler’s Vance facility - which build vehicles for Mercedes-Benz - currently has no formal union representation and has become a target of a membership push by the UAW, which is looking to beef up its declining membership by focusing on foreign-owned plants in the US south. A spokeswoman for Daimler remarked that Brecht is convinced that its employees need to have their interests represented by “having their voice heard.”

She remarked that along with German union IG Metall, Brecht will evaluate how the UAW can be supported in its representation efforts. In June, the UAW disclosed it was working on a plan to organize workers at Daimler’s Vance plant. The UAW has seen its membership drop by around 40 percent in the past decade to around 390,000.

Read the entire article Daimler work council chief to meet with UAW over site representation

Daimler will cough up $480 million in payment to settle a dispute with the United Auto Workers union over medical benefits for retired employees at its North American trucks operations, according to documents filed in a federal court in Tennessee.

The German carmaker has agreed to make contributions to a trust to finance a post-retirement health care plan that will support active and recently retired UAW-represented employees, court documents show.

The documents also show that the agreement was inked following a claim made by a group of retirees that the truck unit – divulged to be as Daimler Trucks North America LLC -- of illegally cutting their benefits.

Read the entire article Daimler to pay $480 million to settle dispute with UAW

The United Auto Workers is forming a union local – Local 42 -- aimed at representing workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. UAW said that membership in Local 42 will be voluntary, adding that it will not have power to bargain on behalf of all of the site’s workers.

UAW officials said that VW would not formally recognize the union until a majority of the site’s employees joins Local 42. UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement that the union was “gratified to earn the confidence and support” of many Volkswagen workers earlier this year, referring to a close representation election at the site in which it gained 626 ‘Yes’ votes, but failed to overcome 712 ‘No’ vote.

He said UAW is keeping its promise at the time that it would give up on VW’s workers. UAW’s latest move underscores UAW’s seriousness in representing workers at the Chattanooga site, considered at the union’s best chance at organizing a foreign-owned facility in the US South.

Read the entire article UAW forms Local 42 to represent VW Chattanooga workers

The United Auto Workers must and will "start anew" in its bid to represent workers at Volkswagen Group's Chattanooga site in the United States, remarked Frank Patta, VW Global Group Works Council general-secretary.

During the recent UAW Constitutional Convention, Patta claimed that the UAW election at the site was "stolen" due to outside political forces. 

"We have lost one battle, not the fight," Patta said in German via a live video hookup using a translator. UAW’s loss in the representation election makes the Chattanooga site one of the few VW plants around the world that does not have a works council.

Read the entire article VW labor chief vows continued support for the UAW

The United Auto Workers could still unionize Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga facility in Tennessee car plant even if it failed to win support of workers and has withdrawn its appeal of the vote, labor law experts told Reuters. The union will have to wait a year before it can launch another official secret ballot election at the VW site after its workers voted 712-626 on February 12-14 not to join the UAW.

Labor law experts, however, remarked that instead of waiting for a year for another election, the UAW could organize a smaller, specialized unit of workers, collaborate with VW for a private election, or gain recognition via card check.

While organizing some workers – especially those in the union-friendly body shop -- would be atypical for the UAW, it could bear fruit if the union could prove that most employees in the shop wanted to be represented.

Read the entire article UAW has other options to unionize VW Chattanooga site

The United Auto Workers union suffered a narrow defeat in February over a unionization election at Volkswagen's Chattanooga site. It appealed its loss, saying that anti-union politicians have improperly interfered with the election. But just last week, the UAW retreated from the fight and withdrew its appeal.

The loss might be excruciating for the union, as it had seen Volkswagen as an ideal target for its unionization due to Germany's strong labor movement. However, the loss is not devastating and may be valuable for the UAW. A union statement said that the UAW is ready to put February's “tainted election in the rearview mirror.

It said that the union will instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga. By retreating from the VW election battle, UAW President Bob King could effectively convey the message that union is not just after memberships, but is also looking out for US workers.

Read the entire article VW appeal withdrawal seen as a good tactical move for the UAW

The United Auto Workers union is withdrawing its objection to the result of the February election it lost among workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee. The UAW had claimed undue outside political interference for its loss. UAW President Bob King said in a statement that the process of objecting to the National Labor Relations Board could take months if not years.

Volkswagen said in a statement that it welcomes UAW’s decision to withdraw the objection, saying that it provides an important gesture for “a constructive dialogue in Chattanooga."

The NLRB indicated it would accept the UAW's withdrawal, according to lawyer and UAW opponent Maury Nicely, who said the move clears the way for the board to certify the election.

Read the entire article UAW withdraws objection to the result of VW plant election

The United Auto Workers union saw its membership grew 2.3 percent at end of 2013 by around 9,000 new members to 391,415, according to a federal filing cited in a statement. The figure marked the fourth consecutive year of membership surges at the UAW. The union said that employment gains achieved via a 2011 labor agreement with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group “continue to pay off through job creation at many facilities throughout the country.”

The UAW said its membership increased after recruiting drives at an IC Bus site in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a Flex-n-Gate auto parts plant in Arlington, Texas; and a Faurecia facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The UAW also attributed the membership surge to successful organizing drives at casinos in Ohio and Las Vegas. The UAW annual membership dropped to 355,191 in 2009, when the Detroit 3 implemented job cuts.

In 2008, the union’s member roll was 431,037. The current figure, however, pales in comparison to the UAW’s membership in 1979, reaching 1.5 million members. In February, the UAW lost a high-profile election to represent 1,500 workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee after workers voted against representation.

Read the entire article United Auto Workers union saw its membership grew 2.3 percent at end of 2013

The United Auto Workers has blasted and vowed to appeal a decision by the National Labor Relations Board to allow anti-union Volkswagen workers defend the results of a February election wherein the union lost 712-626. The union remarked the NLRB had deviated from its own precedent by granting two groups of anti-UAW workers with party status to the election row.

The UAW has requested the NLRB to dismiss the results of the election, arguing that anti-union statements by politicians and outside groups compromised voting at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site. The anti-UAW workers are supported by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum, two of the groups that campaigned against the union in the days before the vote.

According to the UAW, the two groups are "masquerading as legitimate worker representatives," but are actually financed by powerful business interests. They also accused the groups of collaborating with Tennessee Republican politicians like US Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam, to disseminate anti-union messages.

Read the entire article UAW hits decision to make anti-union workers parties to NLRB case

Anti-union workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site can defend the results of a mid-February union election that resulted to a UAW lost, The National Labor Relations Board said. The ruling provides anti-UAW groups – like the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and Southern Momentum -- more leverage in their battle over unionizing the Chattanooga plant.

The ruling allows anti-UAW workers to participate and make their case, along with the UAW, during NLRB hearings over the dispute. The UAW has been trying to expand into non-union, foreign-owned auto assembly plants in the South, but has met opposition from senior Tennessee politicians like U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam as well as from outside interest groups.

The election at VW Chattanooga saw UAW losing, with workers voting 712-626 not to join the union. The UAW has asked the NLRB to dismiss the results of the election, claiming that outside parties influenced the process. While the carmaker stayed technically neutral during the UAW campaign, it provided the union access to its site on the days leading up to the election – an unusual move as employers typically oppose union campaigns.

Read the entire article VW Chattanooga’s anti-union workers may join NLRB hearings

The United Auto Workers has filed an appeal the United States government requesting it to reject the results of a recent election where workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee voted not to join the union. UAW cited what it called "interference by politicians and outside special interest groups," and said that the U.S. National Labor Relations Board would probe into the election and determine if there are grounds to reject the results and hold a new one.

Labor lawyers and academics, however, quipped that the UAW would find it difficult to make a case for setting aside the election, saying that labor law does not limit what politicians can say during a union election campaign, as long as they are telling their own views and not doing the bidding of management.

They noted that the law strictly limits the statements by management and the union itself. In a statement, the union said its appeal details "a coordinated and widely publicized coercive campaign conducted by politicians and outside organizations to deprive Volkswagen workers of their federally protected right to join a union."

Read the entire article UAW appeals against results of election at VW Chattanooga

Five workers at Volkswagen Group's Chattanooga site in Tennessee have filed a petition at the United States National Labor Relations Board for a chance to challenge the United Auto Workers bid to overturn the results of the recent union election at the plant. The five workers, supported by attorneys at the anti-union National Right to Work Foundation, are asking for permission to dispute UAW’s petition with NLRB calling for an overturn of the results of the Feb. 12-14 election on the grounds that comments by Tennessee politicians before the voting improperly influenced the outcome.

The foundation contends that unless these workers are heard, there might be no one to resist the UAW union.

While VW was officially neutral on the UAW's organizing push, it openly discussed with the union about setting up a German-style labor council to provide workers in Chattanooga a voice in VW's corporate decisions. VW and UAW also inked a "neutrality agreement" before the vote allowing union organizers to make their case to workers inside the site before the election.

Read the entire article 5 VW Chattanooga workers challenge UAW’s bid to overturn results

The United Auto Workers union is seeking to represent workers at Mercedes-Benz’s Vance site in Alabama by embarking on a path similar to the one it took for Volkswagen’s employees in Tennessee.  The UAW has been collaborating with German union IG Metall and the Daimler works council to build support for the US union among Mercedes workers in the Vance site, according to the union and Alabama workers opposed to the UAW.

Since 2011, the UAW have made progress with IG Metall officials going on house calls on Alabama workers and the collecting of signed cards supporting the American union. The union also has supportive Mercedes workers handing out fliers in the site.

In January, the UAW quoted an employee saying the union has never had greater support in the site. A similar approach was employed to representing VW's hourly workers in Chattanooga, Tenn. The union's efforts at the VW plant were supported at different times by leaders at IG Metall and VW's works council.

Read the entire article UAW seeks to represent workers at Mercedes-Benz Vance site in Alabama

Hourly workers at Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga site in Tennessee will hold an election on Feb. 12-14 to determine if the United Auto Workers union could represent its workers. The National Labor Relations Board scheduled the election after the carmaker and the UAW reached an agreement.

"Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils," UAW President Bob King said in a statement.

He said that the UAW is seeking to partner with Volkswagen Group of America and a works council to set a new standard in the US “for innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community." VW emphasized its neutrality in a statement, saying that the vote is by secret ballot.

Read the entire article Voting dates for UAW representation at VW Chattanooga set

General Holiefield, Vice President of the United Auto Workers who has oversight of the union's Chrysler department, has been placed on leave. UAW President Bob King's office now has oversight of carmaker’s around 37,200 workers. According to UAW spokeswoman Michele Martin, Holiefield has been placed on leave from the UAW but could not say whether he is on paid or unpaid leave.

She also could not say whether Holiefield would return to work before his term ends in June. In a recent message to Chrysler locals, King said that Holiefield had requested and was granted the leave of absence. On Dec. 30, 2013, Holiefield’s wife – who also works for the UAW – was shot in her stomach with a .45-caliber pistol that he was cleaning.

On Jan. 15, 2014, Holiefield pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless use of a firearm. Holiefield's wife, Monica Morgan, is expected to make a full recovery.

Read the entire article UAW vice president General Holiefield is on leave after December’s firing incident