Kelsey Smith displays UAW buttons in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 10, 2024.

Kevin Worm | Washington Post | getty images

The United Auto Workers said late Friday night volkswagen Workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have voted overwhelmingly to join a union — a major milestone for labor organizing and the first successful organizing campaign at an automaker outside Detroit’s Big Three.

According to results posted by the UAW’s chief counsel, the union organizing passed with 73% of the vote, or 2,628 workers in support of the UAW. as per post, The union said a total of 3,620, or about 84%, of more than 4,300 eligible VW employees voted in the election. Seven ballots were challenged and three were voided.

“In a historic victory, an overwhelming majority of Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have voted to join the UAW,” the union said. said in a release Friday night Before the official results were released by the NLRB. “While the votes continue to be counted, the result is clear: Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga are the first Southern autoworkers to win their union outside the Big Three.”

The NLRB must still certify the outcome, but barring any unexpected issues or challenges, the company is required to bargain in good faith with the union. conversation can be straightforward Or go through an intermediary first.

VW confirmed the UAW’s victory in a release Friday night but offered little comment.

UAW leaders and supporters are expected to use this victory as a launching point for unprecedented union organizing Campaign of 13 vehicle manufacturers in the US after winning major contracts with General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler’s parent company Stellantis last year.

In this aerial view, a Volkswagen automobile assembly plant is seen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on March 20, 2024.

Eliza Novelz getty images

UAW President Shawn Fenn and others viewed this week’s vote as a vote for the union Best shot at event VW plant following strike and record contracts at Detroit automakers. Those agreements included significant wage increases, restoration of cost-of-living adjustments and other benefits.

This successful organizing drive comes days after six Republican governors of Southern states, including Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, issued a joint statement. Condemning UAW pressure To organize in our states.

“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 In just over a year, all UAW automakers have announced layoffs,” statement Said.

The UAW previously failed to organize a Volkswagen plant in 2014 and 2019 because it faced outside political pressure and worker protests. Five years ago workers rejected union membership by a vote of just 833 to 776.

UAW President Shawn Fenn welcomes members attending a rally in support of the labor union strike at the UAW Local 551 hall on the South Side on October 7, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Jim Vondruska | getty images

The union will now monitor negotiations with VW. will also see anticipated organized vote Mercedes-Benz workers at an SUV plant in Vance, Alabama.

Earlier this month workers at the facility filed NLRB paperwork for a formal election to join the UAW. The NLRB announced Thursday that votes for 5,200 employees will take place from May 13 to May 17.

“The first thing you need to do to win is believe that you can win,” Fenn. Mercedes-Benz told workers Last month. “That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And those things are worth fighting for. That’s why we stand. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe that this possible.”

Fenn previously vowed to move beyond the Big Three and expand “Big Five or Big Six” Its four-and-a-half-year contract with Detroit automakers expires in 2028.

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