News Story

UAW to invest $40M to expand footprint to South

Autoworkers union looks beyond Big Three for growth

The UAW will spend $40 million through 2026 in an effort to double its membership, “particularly in the South,” the union announced this week.

“In the next few years, the electric vehicle battery industry is slated to add tens of thousands of jobs across the country, and new standards are being set as the industry comes online,” the union said. “These jobs will supplement, and in some cases largely replace, existing powertrain jobs in the auto industry.”

Most estimates find that a switch to electric vehicles will cost one-third of current auto jobs, as EVs are easier to make than gas-powered vehicles. Even if Michigan captured every electric vehicle job in America, the transition would ensure a smaller auto industry.

“Non-union autoworkers are being left behind,” reads the UAW’s recruiting website. “Are you ready to stand up and win your fair share?”

The pitch continues: “It’s time for non-union autoworkers to join the UAW and win economic justice at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, Volvo and beyond.”

The site speaks of the “30-50-70” approach to come at targeted automakers.

“When 30% of us sign cards in our plant, our Volunteer Organizing Committee will publicly announce that we are forming a union,” the recruiting site explains. “When 50% have signed cards, we will hold a big rally with our co-workers, UAW President Shawn Fain, community leaders, and other allies showing that a majority of us are willing to fight for our union. When 70% of us have signed cards, and we have a (Volunteer Organizing Committee) from every department, line and shift, we will demand the company recognize our union – or take it to a vote, and win.”

Last year, Fain led the UAW to a targeted strike against all Big Three automakers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley said this month that that strike has Ford rethinking its manufacturing footprint, and how many of its jobs would go to UAW members.

Of the UAW’s 146,000 members who are automakers, 57,000 work for Ford, the most of any company. Yet Ford’s most profitable plants, including the Kentucky Truck Plant, were targeted during the strike.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.