Members of the striking United Auto Workers at a General Motors Lansing Delta plant picket in Delta Township, Michigan on September 29, 2023.

Rebecca Cook | reuters

DETROIT – Republican governors from six states condemned the pressure from the United Auto Workers on Tuesday organize automotive factories In the South, union efforts warned it could lead to layoffs and reduced future investment.

joint statement — signed by the governors of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — comes a day before Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, begin voting on whether to join the UAW.

The VW vote is part of an unprecedented labor organizing campaign announced last year by UAW President Shawn Smith that targets 13 automakers. running in southern states And elsewhere. Last year the union negotiated a record contract General Motors, ford motor and chrysler parent Stellantis,

Elected state leaders, including Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, argue that such contracts provide short-term help but have long-term negative impacts on jobs and investment.

“We have worked tirelessly on behalf of our constituents to bring good-paying jobs to our states. These jobs have become part of the fabric of the automotive manufacturing industry. Unionization will certainly put our states’ jobs at risk – literally “Just over a year ago, all UAW automakers have announced layoffs,” the statement read.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee smiles during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, US, on Saturday, July 10, 2021.

Dylan Hollingsworth | Bloomberg | getty images

UAW, which is also in process Mercedes-Benz workers organize vote Alabama did not immediately respond for comment.

Since the UAW contract was approved with Detroit automakers, there have been buyout offers at companies as well as layoffs of salaried and hourly workers, but increased labor costs are not the only reason.

Automakers are investing billions in all-electric vehicles as well as cutting costs to prepare for slower market conditions and fears of an economic recession.

Stellantis — a product of the January 2021 merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group — has led to cuts, but many are supplemental, or temporary workers who do not have the same wages or benefits as traditional assembly plant workers under the deals.

Transatlantic Automaker reportedly cut It cited a review of its manufacturing operations that will furlough more than 1,000 workers this year “to ensure that all facilities operate as efficiently as possible in very challenging market conditions with all operations in accordance with the 2023 collective bargaining agreement with the UAW.” Are working”. It has also cut shifts at at least two Jeep plants, citing the complexity of the agreements among other reasons.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fenn testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 14, 2024 in Washington, DC, about the toll of working hours on workers.

Chip Somodevilla | getty images

ford has offered voluntary buyouts to its employees and announced layoffs, but many of its employees who were laid off have been transferred to other nearby facilities.

GM is also offering voluntary buyouts, although its post-contract layoffs are largely, if not entirely, tied to factory changes. For example, The company fired 1,300 employees Due to end vehicle production at two plants in Michigan.

In addition to Tennessee’s Lee, the other Republican governors who signed the statement were: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Missouri Governor Tate Reeves, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

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