Chattanooga, Tenn. — At noon on Monday, December 18th, UAW President Shawn Fain will accompany a delegation of Volkswagen workers and community and faith leaders to deliver a letter to Volkswagen management demanding the company end its union-busting and intimidation, as workers organize to join the UAW. 

“These workers at your plant are our neighbors, congregants, family, and friends, and we applaud them for having the courage to demand better for themselves and our community,” reads the letter from CALEB (Chattanoogans in Action for Love, Equality and Benevolence), a community and faith coalition advocating for economic justice in Chattanooga. “However, we are deeply concerned by the stories Chattanooga workers have shared with us regarding Volkswagen’s efforts to stop them—in some cases illegally—from exercising their rights.” 
On Monday, December 11, Volkswagen workers filed federal unfair labor practice charges against Volkswagen for illegally intimidating, interfering with, and spying on pro-union workers. 

Today, VW workers are filing another federal labor charge against the company for unlawful company policies concerning social media, dress code, and flyering that have a chilling effect on workers’ rights to stand up and speak out publicly about their working conditions and the need to unionize. 

Volkswagen’s illegal actions come on the heels of the UAW announcing that well over 1,000 workers, making up over 30 percent of the Chattanooga plant, have signed union cards as part of a national movement of non-union autoworkers organizing to join the UAW in the wake of the union’s record contract victories at Ford, GM, and Stellantis. 

The employees at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington D.C. have voted to join the UAW. They are the first Washington D.C. museum staff to join the UAW.

President Lincoln’s Cottage is a historic site and museum in Washington, D.C., where Abraham Lincoln lived for more than a quarter of his presidency and developed the Emancipation Proclamation. Opened to the public in 2008, it brings President Lincoln’s nation-changing story to life through innovative guided tours, engaging exhibits, and interactive programs. Lincoln’s experiences at the Cottage provided him and those he influenced with new and diverse perspectives on issues of freedom, justice, and humility, and he made some of his most critical decisions there. President Lincoln’s Cottage operates today as a home for brave ideas and works to preserve this place to connect people to the true spirit of the Lincolns, build empathy, and inspire them to act upon their own ideas for social justice.

“I’m thrilled about our unanimous election results because I think collective bargaining will help us live up to the principles we share with the public every day,” states organizing committee member, Joan Cummins.  “Our museum is a historical site of labor justice and we’re ready to walk the walk!”

As the Program Coordinator at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Joan works on nearly every public-facing program of the museum, especially those intended for students and teachers. She developed and implemented revised school programming both onsite and virtually, and works closely with the Students Opposing Slavery Summit, which provides young people the tools they need to get involved in the fight against human trafficking. She also produces, edits, and co-hosts the Cottage’s podcast Q & Abe.

Member John Nembhard adds: “I’m the Senior Store Associate. I’m in charge of running the museum gift shop. It feels like when Obama won the election. All I can think now is “Yes We Can”. The feeling of having a voice means so much to me.”

Museum Program Associate Josie Barcley states: “I provide historical interpretation of the cottage’s stories, themes, and exhibits and lead education programs to students, teachers, and other members of the public. I am extremely pleased with the results and am looking forward to making the future of the cottage brighter.”

“We are very proud to celebrate a victory for our new UAW members at President Lincoln’s Cottage and a victory for organized labor,” states Region 8 Director Tim Smith. “History was made today; President Lincoln’s Cottage is the first UAW represented museum in Washington D.C. Assistant Director George Palmer and I are looking forward to meeting our new members to congratulate them on this historic win.”

UAW Local 171 members that work at Sherwin-Williams Co. in Williamsport, Maryland, have proven the old labor adage “One Day Longer” true once again. After walking the picket lines on strike for over 200 days, workers have won a new agreement with significant contractual gains.

The three-year contract includes an increase in starting wages and top pay, as well as improved pension multipliers. The wage progression to top pay was also reduced from three years to two.

Another major win for Local 171 members is that the entire time workers spent on strike will count towards their seniority for pensions, vacation, disciplinary action, and seniority.

“I want to commend these brave UAW members for their resilience,” said Region 8 Director, Tim Smith. “They were on strike since November of last year, and they absolutely refused to allow the challenges of a prolonged strike to break their solidarity. It’s a testament to their commitment to one another.”

“Region 8 would like to thank all those who stood in solidarity with our members and their families this entire time with donations, as well as their prayers,” Assistant Director George Palmer said. “Thank you to all of the retirees and active members who stood on the picket lines in support of Local 171 as well. Today we celebrate another victory in collective bargaining.”

The Williamsport-area plant makes paint products for Sherwin-Williams Co.

Bethesda, Maryland – Today, 4,800 early-career researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) filed to form their union, NIH Fellows United-UAW. This is the first union within the U.S. federal government for research fellows, which includes postbaccalaureate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral researchers.

The NIH is the largest biomedical research institution in the world, and fellows’ work is integral to the development of technologies and treatments to enhance public health. Workers cited ongoing issues around low pay, a lack of support for early-career researchers, and the need for a voice at work as reasons for their collective action.

They rallied today as they celebrated this milestone and then traveled to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to file for their union.

“Fellows don’t have any voice or power in this institution, so it feels like we’re cheap labor rather than equal members of a team,” said Travis Kinder, Research Fellow at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). “The changes we need at the NIH and in the world cannot be done alone and require us to work collectively.”

Our union shares the outrage over the violent and senseless murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police in Memphis, Tennessee. We mourn with Tyre’s mother, son, his loved ones as well as the entire Memphis community which includes many active and retired UAW members. As a union strongly rooted in the fight for social justice, this is a harsh reminder of why we will continue to fight for justice and equality for all. The quote by Dr. Martin Luther King still holds true that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

President Ray Curry
Region 8 Director Tim Smith