Tag Archive for: Shawn Fain

Over 10,000 autoworkers across 13 non-union companies have signed union cards with the UAW, as momentum builds across the auto industry for better wages, benefits, and rights on the job. The major milestone comes less than 90 days after UAW members ratified record contracts at the Big Three. 

“Our Stand Up movement has caught fire among America’s autoworkers, far beyond the Big Three,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “These workers are standing up for themselves, for their families, and for their communities, and our union will have their back every step of the way.” 

In the wake of the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike victory at the Big Three automakers (Ford, GM, Stellantis), thousands of non-union autoworkers began organizing their own unions with the UAW across the entire non-union auto industry.  

In just two months, workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tenn., and at Mercedes in Vance, Ala., have gone public with their campaigns, nearing a majority of workers signed up at both plants. Workers at more than two dozen other facilities have begun organizing in the thousands, inspired by the Big Three victory and the non-union autoworkers’ public announcements. 

For more information on the non-union autoworkers’ organizing efforts at Volkswagen, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, Volvo, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Subaru, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, and Hyundai, visit UAW.org/join

The UAW kicked off its biannual National Cap Conference in Washington D.C. with hundreds of union members gathering at the Marriott Marquis Hotel to set the union’s upcoming political and legislative work. Tying into the spirit of last fall’s wildly successful Stand Up Strike at the Big Three automakers, the theme for this year’s conference is “Stand Up For Your Future,” with a focus on retirement security.

UAW President Shawn Fain was the keynote speaker for the day’s proceedings. He addressed an energetic crowd of delegates and received a standing ovation on numerous occasions during an impassioned speech presenting a vision of a member-led, powerful, reenergized UAW.

“We’re here to turn our union, our families, and our communities from quiet supporters of the cause of economic and social justice into an army of working-class warriors ready to stand up,” Fain said to those in attendance. “As the working class, we know we have the majority. But it must not be a silent majority. We know we have the power. But it must not be disorganized power. We know we are on the right side of history. But we can’t wait for the history books to vindicate us. We must act now.”

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock gave a powerful speech on reproductive justice. “The attack on women’s reproductive healthcare will be on every ballot across America in 2024,” Mock said. “We need the entire nation standing with women. We must lobby every politician that receives our CAP dollars and our votes to support legislation which provides choice for women. Everyone must join us in this unprecedented battle for reproductive freedom for women. If women are not truly free, no one else can be either.”

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock addresses delegates at the UAW National CAP Conference in Washington D.C.


Each of the UAW’s three Vice Presidents spoke on the issue of retirement security, discussing the need for post-retirement healthcare as an essential next battle for the UAW in the legislative halls and at the bargaining table.

“The fight for retirement security in this country is bigger than any one employer,” said Vice President Rich Boyer. “It’s bigger than any one industry. We have to have an aggressive plan to win – just like we did during the Stand Up Strike. We need a strategy that lifts up all workers and creates real standards in this country. We need to win real retirement security for all.”

“When these companies listen to Wall Street and say we can’t afford to care for the people who made us all this money, I say there’s something very wrong with that,” Vice President Mike Booth stated. “There’s something wrong with these corporations, there’s something wrong with congress, and there’s something wrong with our for-profit health care industry. These are not problems we can solve one worksite at a time or one industry at a time but solve them we must. The American people want real retirement security. We need real retirement security. And it’s about time that we fight like hell for real retirement security.”

UAW President Shawn Fain speaking with a CAP delegate during the day one conference dinner.


“We were incredibly effective during the Stand Up Strike because we were aggressive, united, and because we took the boss by surprise,” Vice President Chuck Browning told delegates. “It’s time that we used those same aggressive tactics and applied them to our political program. It’s time for us to take the boss fight to the next level. That’s how we win.”

Many delegates made the short trip to Capitol Hill to stop into congressional offices to lobby for workers’ rights on numerous issues.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the UAW National CAP Conference in Washington D.C.


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave a rousing keynotes speech during the day one conference dinner, speaking on the many challenges facing the working class and the importance of fighting for working people in 2024 and beyond.

“Amidst all of those challenges, there is some extraordinaire good news taking place,” Senator Sanders said. “We are currently seeing a major revitalization of the trade union movement in America. And, in that regard, I want to thank the UAW for all that you are doing, because you are helping to lead that revolution.

Sanders’ speech was followed by an interactive session where the Senator Sanders and delegates took turns asking and answering each other’s questions.

The National CAP Conference is the heart of the union’s political work. Delegates and leaders work together to shape the UAW’s political and legislative priorities moving forward.

CAP delegates listen to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders during his keynote address.

Today, 33 U.S. Senators are calling on 13 non-union auto companies to refrain from union-busting as over 150,000 autoworkers have launched campaigns to organize with the UAW. In a letter sent to the CEOs of the automakers, the Senators, led by Senators Peters, Stabenow, Padilla, Butler, and Brown stressed the importance of respecting workers’ right to form a union, and encouraged the companies to commit to neutrality in any organizing effort.

“Your commitment to neutrality would ensure that management does not pressure workers into voting against unionization or delaying the election process,” the Senators’ letter states. “We believe a neutrality agreement is the bare minimum standard manufacturers should meet in respecting workers’ rights, especially as companies receive and benefit from federal funds related to the electric vehicle transition.”

The letter also addresses reports of illegal actions taken by a number of the companies. In recent weeks, the UAW has filed unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board against Honda, Hyundai, and Volkswagen for engaging in various illegal union-busting tactics in an attempt to intimidate and dissuade workers from voting to unionize.

“These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers,” the letter continues. “We therefore urge you all to commit to implementation of a neutrality agreement at your manufacturing plants.”

“Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “We applaud these U.S. Senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the UAW winning record contracts at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in October 2023, after the six-week Stand Up Strike that captivated the labor movement and led non-union automakers to raise wages in anticipation of fending off potential organizing at their facilities.

More information on the organizing drive can be found at UAW.org/join.

UAW President Shawn Fain will speak at the 21st Detroit Martin Luther King Day Rally and March on January 15, 2024, at 12 pm ET.

Location: St. Matthew’s-St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 8850 Woodard Avenue at Holbrook

Date & Time: Mon. Jan. 15, 2024, 12pm-3:00pm ET

Theme: “For Jobs, Peace, and Justice, while protecting Water, Climate, and Communities.

The Detroit MLK Day Committee has been organizing this event on the federal holiday commemorating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for the past twenty years. This year’s event comes amid a heightening struggle for labor rights and against imperialist war across the United States and the world.

The rally and march will feature speakers and artists from the Detroit area highlighting the wealth of community organizers and cultural workers in southeastern Michigan. A broad coalition of these social forces is very much needed in the coming year to meet the challenging facing the people of the city, the country, and the globe. 

The current period has been characterized by widespread strikes in various sectors of the economy including unions representing autoworkers, heath care practitioner, writers, actors, entertainment workers, educators, and service employees. During the last few months, Detroit has been labelled “Strike City” because of the work stoppages involving tens of thousands of workers. Being honored is the increasing militant posture of working people, a tradition in which the city was built upon.

Labor unions are encouraged to participate in this event along with their rank-and-file members to symbolize the necessity of organizing and mobilizing the majority of people in order to achieve genuine democracy and economic rights.

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. 

UAW President Shawn Fain addressed non-union autoworkers via Facebook Live on Monday, December 11. The livestream can be viewed on the UAW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

During the broadcast, Fain gave updates on the union’s historic organizing drive, detailing how thousands of workers at non-union automakers have been reaching out to the UAW and organizing with their coworkers.

“Right now, thousands of workers at thirteen auto companies are fighting for a better life with the UAW,” Fain said during the livestream. “Workers at Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo, Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid are ready to Stand Up. From California to South Carolina. From Illinois to Alabama. These workers are making history, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Fain highlighted the organizing drive at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a thousand workers had already signed union authorization cards in less than a week, with hundreds more signing up over the last few days. “Volkswagen workers are on fire and are inspiring workers all across the country,” Fain said. Workers at the Volkswagen facility were the first to go public with their efforts to join the union.

President Fain also announced that the UAW had filed three unfair labor practice charges this morning against Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen for engaging in union-busting activity.

“Like corporations everywhere, no matter what they tell you, these companies are more than willing to break the law if it means protecting their bottom line from you,” Fain said. “They’ll lie, cheat, and steal. Intimidate, surveil, and coerce. And then out of the other side of their mouth, they’ll tell you we’re family.”

Fain ended the livestream with a clear message: the UAW will do everything in its power to support non-union autoworkers’ efforts to unionize, but ultimately, the workers will be the ones who will need to make it happen. “These workers won’t win because a lawyer filed paperwork,” he said. “They won’t win just because someone handed them a union card. They won’t win because of the UAW leadership or Shawn Fain. The workers at Honda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Toyota and all these non-union auto companies will win because they’re ready to Stand Up and fight for what they deserve.

“We’re asking you to reach out to anyone you know who may work at a non-union auto plant or might know someone who does. And we’re asking you to step up and organize your own workplace. Nothing else can fix our broken economy like a bigger, better, and bolder union movement. And no one’s going to do it but you.”

In the face of aggressive anti-union campaigns, workers organizing with the UAW at Honda in Indiana, Hyundai in Alabama, and Volkswagen in Tennessee, have filed charges against management for illegally union-busting as workers organize to join the UAW.

“We are filing an unfair labor practice charge against Honda because of management illegally telling us to remove union stickers from our hats, and for basically threatening us with write-ups,” says Honda worker Josh Cupit in a new video released by More Perfect Union. “It’s essentially to show Honda that we know what our rights are and that they’re not gonna bully us and we’re not gonna back down from ’em. And we know that they are in the wrong.”

“These companies are breaking the law in an attempt to get autoworkers to sit down and shut up instead of fighting for their fair share,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “But these workers are showing management that they won’t be intimidated out of their right to speak up and organize for a better life. From Honda to Hyundai to Volkswagen and beyond, we’ve got their back. The auto industry’s record profits should mean record contracts for these workers, too.”

Fain will meet with thousands of non-union autoworkers on Facebook Live tonight at 5 p.m. ET. The media is invited to access the livestream at the UAW’s Facebook page and YouTube channel

Honda workers report being targeted and surveilled by management for pro-union activity at the company’s Indiana Auto Plant in Greensburg, Indiana. Hundreds of workers at the facility have signed union cards and are organizing to join the UAW.

At Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, well over 1,000 workers signed union cards in less than a week, and hundreds more continue to sign up. Management has harassed and threatened workers for talking about the union; confiscated and destroyed pro-union materials in the break room; attempted to intimidate and illegally silence pro-union workers; and has attempted to illegally prohibit workers from distributing union literature and discussing union issues in non-work areas on non-work time. Volkswagen has made public claims of “official neutrality” in past union efforts while aggressively pushing an anti-union message in forced meetings and internal literature.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, at an early morning shift change, security guards stopped a group of Volkswagen union supporters from distributing flyers to their coworkers at Gate 3.

“We’ve done hand billing at that gate before and the company has never done anything like this,” said Dave Gleeson, a production team member in finish and repair. “We were just getting ready to hand out flyers and security came up and told us we couldn’t. I asked if this was his decision, and he said no, this is coming from way over my head. Our campaign caught the company completely flat-footed, and they overreacted. We’re not going to be intimidated. We know our rights and we’re going to keep standing up and keep speaking out.”

At Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant, management has unlawfully confiscated, destroyed, and prohibited pro-union materials in non-work areas during non-work times. Hundreds of workers continue to sign up to win their union despite this illegal interference and intimidation.

Beverly McCall, a team member in engine assembly at the Hyundai plant, was in the parking lot passing out union leaflets on non-work time when a manager told her to stop. “The manager came up and told me you can’t be out here doing that,” said McCall. “I just kept right on doing what I was doing. We have every right to get the word out and they can’t stop us.”

Tim Cripple, a team member in engine assembly at Hyundai, was in a break room and had a few union leaflets on the table in front of him. “A group leader came in and called team relations on the phone,” said Cripple. “They said you can’t have them in here and the group leader threw them in the trash. At the same time, they have someone from the company sitting in the cafeteria handing out anti-union t-shirts and flyers. That’s just wrong, and we are not going to be silenced.”

The board charges are a defiant response to low-road behavior that is typical of the worst actors in anti-union coercion campaigns. Organizing a union free from management interference or threats is a federally protected right that is indispensable to a democratic, free society.

Thousands of non-union autoworkers across the country have launched campaigns to organize more than a dozen automakers across the country, building off the historic success of the UAW’s Stand Up Strike at the Big Three. To learn more, and to join the campaign, workers can go to UAW.org/join.