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Transition to EVs: a Win for Climate; Let’s Make it a Win for US Workers

By Don Anair - The Equation, October 24, 2023

A global transition to electric transportation is underway and momentum is growing. Traditional and new auto manufacturers are bringing more and more models to market. Even in California, where a tradition of stringent regulation has pushed the industry to innovate over the past 50 years, automakers are selling EVs at levels well above sales requirements. This momentum is spreading across the country with US EV sales now over 9% and climbing.

When a change as big as this is underway, it’s important to understand what impact it can have on employment and to take steps to ensure that workers benefit from the transition and aren’t left behind.

But what is the outlook for jobs in an electric transportation future? Can the EV transition support good, family- and community-supporting jobs and support a strong US economy?  The fundamentals show there’s reason to be optimistic.

Union Members REACT to Kay Ivey’s ATTACK on Mercedes Workers

Musk, Sign A Contract Or Get Out! Nordic Workers To Elon Musk On Tesla Swedish Mechanics Strike

EXPLAINED: The Tesla Conflict in Sweden w/ Swedish Labor Journalist Daniel Swedin

GKN factory occupation needs YOUR help to start green production under workers control

Standup 2.0 KICKING OFF WITH A BANG: 1000+ Cards Signed At VW Chattanooga

GM to Spend MORE ON STOCK BUYBACKS Than INCREASED LABOR COSTS

Scandinavian Workers are HAMMERING Elon Musk’s Tesla

Chattanooga Volkswagen Workers Announce Push to Join UAW

By Jake Johnson - Common Dreams, December 7, 2023

Workers at Volkswagen's only U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee announced Thursday that they're launching a public organizing committee with the goal of joining the United Auto Workers, which is aiming to expand its membership to include employees at more than a dozen nonunion car companies after winning historic contracts at the Big Three.

In less than a week, more than 1,000 workers at the Volkswagen plant signed union authorization cards, giving the nascent union drive more than 30% support so far at the Chattanooga location.

The UAW narrowly failed to organize the plant in 2014 and 2019. But leaders of the new unionization push expressed confidence that the outcome would be different this time around as the newly emboldened UAW puts special emphasis on the South, where the unionization rate is significantly lower than in the rest of the country.

"People are standing up like never before," said Steve Cochran, a lead organizer of the Chattanooga union drive. "There are a lot of young workers in the plant now and this generation wants respect. They're not okay with mistreatment by management. They see what's happening at Starbucks and Amazon. They know that standing up to join the union is how you win fair treatment, fair pay, and a better life."

Organizers pointed to the $184 billion in profits that Volkswagen Group has brought in over the past decade while workers' wages have stagnated or declined.

Inspired by Strike Wins, 1,000 Volkswagen Workers Sign Union Cards

By Luis Feliz Leon - Labor Notes, December 7, 2023

Today workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant announced their third bid to unionize plant-wide with the Auto Workers (UAW).

Riding the momentum of its strike of the Big 3 automakers, the UAW now wants to double its numbers in the auto industry by adding 150,000 workers at companies that have long avoided unionization. Thirteen non-union automakers are on notice: Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen, and electric vehicle producers Rivian, Tesla, and Lucid.

The union says it has been inundated with calls and online sign-ups by workers at these firms. The Volkswagen drive is the first to go public, after 1,000 workers signed union cards.

The UAW’s two previous attempts to organize the full Chattanooga plant fell short narrowly. In 2014, workers lost by 86 votes. In 2019, the union came even closer, losing by just 57 votes with 93 percent turnout. There were 1,700 workers at the plant then. Some 3,800 workers today build the Atlas and Cross Sport SUVs, as well as the electric ID.4.

In 2015 a smaller group of skilled trades workers won their election by a vote of 108 to 44, joining UAW Local 42, which had formed as a minority union following the 2014 loss. But the company refused to negotiate with the smaller unit, delaying in the courts. The UAW quietly jettisoned the effort, filing instead for the full unit in 2019.

After the 2019 defeat, workers kept the flame of organizing alive, meeting regularly and running a petition for the right to use their paid time off outside the company's annual weeklong maintenance shutdown.

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