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  • UAW Concerned As More Automakers Move Production To Mexico
    Updated On: Apr 07, 2016

    By JoAnne Powers, February 22, 2016:

    On the heels of a labor agreement with the United Auto Workers, Ford Motor Company has announced the construction of yet another production plant in Mexico. The company is planning to double its production South of the Border. In the two decades since the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, the big three automakers and several other companies are investing heavily in Mexico to build vehicles for import into the U.S. In comments to reporters in Detroit UAW President Dennis Williams criticized the automakers for continuing to run to low-wage countries for production:

    [Dennis Williams]: “How much profit do you really need to make? How much investment should you be making in the country that actually protects your assets? What happened in 2009 was proof that the United States of America taxpayer protects the assets of General Motors and Chrysler. Companies should be just as loyal to the United States of America as the taxpayer is to them. They are making huge amount of profits. There is no reason, mathematically, to run to countries like Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, when right here in the United States is the world market, still today. They're making their profits right here in the United States of America.”

    Williams also discussed the union's strategy in organizing auto workers in the American South, traditionally a difficult region for union organizing: “We have several organizing drives right now going on in the South with what we can refer to as the transnational plants. We think there will be much more activity now. We are looking forward to some successes down there.” Specifically, the union has won a recent victory organizing skilled trades workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which they hope will be a model for future success in the South:

    [Dennis Williams]: “Volkswagen recently had an election for our skill trades unit. Was very successful. I think they won by I believe 71 percent, around there. It showed that workers wanted representation. They did it thorough the NLRB. The company has yet to sit down and bargain. We are pursuing that as of today to ask the board to issue a complaint against the company for not doing it. We'll see what the outcome is. It could come any day now for Local 42, which the skill trades is part of now, and also , the production workers, they want collective bargaining. We don't know why Volkswagen, especially with what they proclaim is their culture, has not recognized the majority of workers. We're pursuing that through a great deal of avenues.”

    For WIN, I'm JoAnne Pow!ers

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