Volkswagen Joins Wave of Non-Union Carmakers in U.S. with Salary Increases

Volkswagen has followed the trend of foreign car manufacturers by announcing an 11% raise for its U.S. workers at the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. This move comes after significant pay

gains achieved by the United Auto Workers in a six-week strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

This 11% wage increase by the German group signifies the majority of non-unionized U.S. car plants owned by traditional car brands have raised wages since the recent deal, something the union jokingly referred to as the "UAW bump," playfully stating that its initials stand for "You Are Welcome."

Additionally, Japan’s Subaru has declared its seventh pay increase at its Indiana plant since 2019, which will take effect in January. Nissan and Hyundai have also announced substantial pay hikes for their U.S. factory workers, following a similar pattern initiated by Honda, Toyota, and Volvo Cars, among others.

However, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla, which also manage non-unionized plants in the U.S., have not yet disclosed any pay raises.

Senator Bernie Sanders acknowledged these historic union wins in a Senate subcommittee hearing, likening these developments to the wage increases implemented by Amazon for its warehouse workers and drivers following a deal between the Teamsters and UPS.

The UAW intends to leverage its bargaining successes against the traditional Big Three to launch organizing campaigns at the U.S. plants of non-union carmakers. These pay raises seem an attempt to deter such efforts, although unlike those secured by workers at Ford, GM, and Stellantis, the increases at foreign carmakers aren’t guaranteed by a legally binding contract.

President of the UAW, Shawn Fain, outlined plans for further recruitment efforts, especially targeting southern plants, where many foreign carmakers are situated due to right-to-work laws that have hindered union efforts.

Despite these challenges, the UAW is proactively gathering support among workers at various companies through platforms like Action Network, aiming to build union representation among employees across different car manufacturers in the U.S. Fain emphasized the unity among autoworkers in confronting corporate greed, indicating a push toward a more organized labor force in the auto industry. Photo by VassKommunikation, Wikimedia commons.

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