USA: Historic union victory at Volkswagen factory an “inspiration for democracy at work”

photo: UAW

The ITUC congratulates the workers at the Volkswagen car plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA for their historic vote to join the United Auto Workers (UAW).

It is the first successful vote for unionisation at an auto factory in the southern USA since the 1940s. Nearly 75 per cent of workers voted for union representation.

The UAW has been expanding its efforts to organise auto factories in the south, which has been traditionally resistant to unionisation. As part of the plan to organise around 150,000 workers in car plants that have no union representation, elections are planned next month at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facilities in Vance and Woodstock, Alabama.

ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: “This victory at Volkswagen is not just a win for the workers there; it is an inspiration to create more democratic workplaces across the USA, the Americas and the whole world. As our campaign For Democracy makes clear, the workplace is the forge for democracy, from where it spreads to enrich society, and then builds the legitimacy to demand greater accountability at global institutions.

“This vote will empower the workers in Chattanooga to demand the fair conditions and respect they deserve through collective bargaining. I congratulate them on this history victory and the global trade union movement stands with them.

“Working people across the world and the USA can take courage and inspiration from this vote. It is possible to overcome long-standing barriers and benefit from the clear advantages of democratic, unionised workplaces. We stand with working people as they use the momentum from this historic win to gain democratic rights and representation at work.”