Hyundai plant, Alabama

A worker inspects a nearly completed Hyundai Sonata at the Korean automaker's Montgomery, Alabama plant.

(Photo: Alabama Department of Commerce)

UAW Chief Says Autoworkers Will 'Run Through a Brick Wall' for Better Life

Nonunion workers "want their fair share of social and economic justice," he said as the UAW backed union-busting charges against car companies in three states.

Citing automakers' "aggressive anti-union campaigns," nonunion employees organizing with the United Auto Workers on Monday announced unfair labor practices charges against three major international car companies operating in the United States.

Workers at Honda in Indiana, Hyundai in Alabama, and Volkswagen in Tennessee filed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges against management at the three companies "for illegally union busting as workers organize to join the UAW."

"They're not gonna bully us and we're not gonna back down from 'em."

"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," Honda worker Josh Cupit explains in a video released Monday 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," Cupit added. "And we know that they are in the wrong."

According to UAW, "Honda workers report being targeted and surveilled by management for pro-union activity" at the company's plant in Greensburg, Indiana.

"Hundreds of workers at the facility have signed union cards and are organizing to join the UAW," the union said.

At Volkswagen's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, "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 nonwork time."

UAW said that management at Hyundai's Montgomery, Alabama plant "unlawfully confiscated, destroyed, and prohibited pro-union materials in nonwork areas during nonwork times" as "hundreds of workers continue to sign up to win their union despite this illegal interference and intimidation."

UAW President Shawn Fain said Monday during a livestreamed speech announcing the NLRB filing that "there's one thing that sets apart winning and losing organizing campaigns: The workers have to want it. And right now, America's autoworkers are ready. They want a better life. They want a voice on the job. They want their fair share of social and economic justice. And they don't just want it, they're ready to run through a brick wall to get it."

"Right now, thousands of workers at 13 auto companies are fighting for a better life with the UAW... From California to South Carolina, from Illinois to Alabama, these workers are making history, and I've never seen anything like it in my work life," he added. "Last Thursday, workers at Volkswagen in Chattanooga announced that over 1,000 of them had signed cards to join UAW in less than a week, and in just a few days since, hundreds more have signed up."

Fain continued:

This summer, while we were in the thick of bargaining with the Big Three, we started noticing something unusual: First they came one or two at a time, autoworkers reaching out to us from nonunion companies about what they were seeing at the Big Three. Then they started coming by the dozens. They'd write in, saying their companies had record profits, just like the Big Three and they felt they deserved record contracts, just like the UAW autoworkers at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

From every company, autoworkers weren't just writing us messages, they were signing union cards.

"The only way we unite in this fight against corporate greed is through a union contract," the UAW president added. "Not just for the Big Three, but for autoworkers everywhere."

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