Volkswagen Tennessee plant workers vote on UAW membership

By Thomson Reuters Apr 17, 2024 | 10:23 AM

(Reuters) – After a series of victories against the Detroit Three automakers last fall, United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain is now trying to use his influence to organize other U.S. auto factories that have stayed out of the union’s ambit.

The UAW has tried and failed for years to organize nonunion U.S. auto factories, most of them built by Asian and European automakers in southern U.S. states where so-called right-to-work labor laws make it optional for workers to pay union dues.

Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will vote this week, beginning Wednesday and ending on Friday, on whether to organize with the United Auto Workers union. It would be the third time in 10 years that the UAW has sought to represent VW Chattanooga workers. Winning a vote to organize the VW plant would be a significant milestone for the UAW.

Here is a timeline of UAW’s contract talks with the Detroit Three automakers and its efforts to organize non-unionized factories:




March 25 Shawn Fain wins the race for UAW president and

vows to take a tough stance against the Big

Three automakers.

April 21 Fain says there is “no excuse” for Detroit’s

automakers to set up electric vehicle operations

and ventures that are not unionized.

July 10 The UAW says it will open contract talks with

Detroit’s Big Three automakers – Chrysler-parent

Stellantis, Ford Motor and General Motors – on

agreements covering about 150,000 U.S. workers.

Aug. 01 Fain says the union is seeking ambitious benefit

increases in contract talks with the Detroit

Three automakers.

Aug. 25 UAW members vote overwhelmingly in favor of

authorizing a strike at the Detroit Three

automakers if an agreement is not reached before

the then-current four-year contract expires on

Sept. 14.

Sep. 13 The UAW rejects counteroffers from the

automakers and outlines plans for strikes

targeting individual U.S. auto plants in what

would be its first-ever simultaneous strike

against the Detroit Three.

Sept. 15 The union


simultaneous strikes aimed at

halting production at three factories owned by

GM, Ford and Stellantis.

Oct. 30 The union reaches a deal with GM, after reaching

agreements with Stellantis and Ford, ending the

strike against Detroit automakers.

Nov. 1 Toyota Motor hikes wages of nonunion U.S.

factory workers

Nov. 2 The UAW signals the next step in the union’s

campaign: launching organizing drives at Toyota,

Tesla and other nonunion U.S. auto factories.

Nov. 8 Fain says the union will “pull out all stops” in

working to organize non-union U.S. auto plants.

Nov. 9 President Joe Biden backs UAW’s efforts to

unionize Tesla and Toyota workers.

Nov. 10 Honda Motor says it will give production workers

at its U.S. facilities an 11% pay hike starting

in January.

Nov. 13 Hyundai Motor says it will hike wages for

nonunion production workers at its Alabama

factory by 25% by 2028.

Nov. 16 Japanese automaker Subaru says it will raise the

wages of its U.S. workers at Subaru’s assembly

plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

Nov. 20 The UAW says 64% of workers at the Detroit Three

automakers voted to ratify new record contracts

after a six-week targeted strike, as the union

turns its attention to organizing foreign-owned

and Tesla auto plants.

Nov. 20 Nissan Motor says it will hike top wages for

workers at U.S. manufacturing plants by 10% in


Nov. 22 Volkswagen says it will hike salaries for

production workers at its Tennessee-based

Chattanooga assembly plant by 11%.

Nov. 29 The UAW says it was launching a

first-of-its-kind push to publicly organize the

entire nonunion auto sector in the U.S. UAW says

workers at 13 nonunion automakers were

announcing simultaneous campaigns across the

country to join the union.

Dec. 07 The UAW says more than 1,000 factory workers at

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly

plant, which employs about 3,800 workers, have

signed union authorization cards.

Dec. 11 The UAW says it filed unfair labor practice

charges against Honda Motor, Hyundai Motor and

Volkswagen, citing aggressive anti-union

campaigns to deter workers from organizing.


Jan. 04 A group of 33 U.S. senators urges Tesla and 12

other automakers to remain neutral in ongoing

efforts by the UAW to organize U.S. auto plants.

Jan. 11 Tesla tells production workers in the United

States that they will get a pay hike, Bloomberg

News reported.

Feb. 01 The UAW says more than 30% of workers at Hyundai

Motor’s Alabama plant have signed cards seeking

to join the union.

Feb. 06 The UAW says a majority of workers at

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly

plant have signed cards to join the union

Feb. 21 The union says it will commit $40 million to

organizing non-union automobile and EV battery

workers in the United States over the next two


Feb. 27 The union says a majority of hourly workers at a

Mercedes Benz Alabama factory have signed cards

to join the union.

March 06 The union said more than 30% of workers at a

Toyota Motor Missouri factory are seeking to

join the union.

March 18 The union says a supermajority of eligible

workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee

assembly plant have signed union cards.

March 25 Workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee,

assembly plant will vote in April on whether to

join the United Auto Workers union.

April 05 Workers at a Mercedes Benz factory in Vance,

Alabama, file a petition with U.S. regulators to

hold an election to join the United Auto

Workers, the union said.

April 17 Voting at Volkswagen Tennessee plant to begin.

(Compiled by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)