Chattanooga, Tenn. – A majority of workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant have signed cards to join the UAW, less than sixty days after the workers announced their campaign to form a union at the German automaker’s only US assembly plant.
The milestone marks the first non-union auto plant to publicly announce majority support among the dozens of auto plants where workers have begun organizing in recent months. The grassroots effort sprang up in the wake of the record victories for Big Three autoworkers in the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike win.
“The excitement has been building, and now that we have reached 50%, it is just continuing to grow. New organizers are joining each day spreading our effort to every area of the plant,” said Zach Costello, a Volkswagen worker and trainer in the plant’s Proficiency Room. “Just because we are in the South, it does not mean that our work is worth less, that our benefits should be diminished, or that we don’t have rights. All workers should have a voice, and I hope the success that we’re having here is showing workers across the country what is possible.”
“We realized that the working conditions could be a lot better,” said Victor Vaughn, a logistics team member at Volkswagen. “And the employees, we don’t have a say in any of the decisions that are going on within the plant. We’re not being recognized as a major resource for the company. We have a very important job, to put a vehicle on the road that our families are buying, that our kids are riding in. We take pride in what we do, but we don’t have a voice in how we operate. That’s why we’re taking the lead.”
The Chattanooga plant employs over 4,000 autoworkers, a clear majority of whom have signed cards to join the UAW. Workers at Mercedes in Vance, Alabama, and at Hyundai in Montgomery, Alabama have also announced public campaigns to join the UAW, with dozens of other plants actively organizing. For more information on the campaigns, visit UAW.org/join.