UAW, non-U.S. automakers in preliminary talks

DETROIT Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:19pm EST

DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers has had preliminary private discussions with some nonunion automakers about organizing U.S. plants as it aims to expand to Asian and European companies, UAW President Bob King said on Wednesday.

King declined to name the companies the UAW has talked to under its latest organizing plan that includes a plea to companies to agree to "trust principles" for bargaining with the union.

"We are in some preliminary discussions which we agreed to keep confidential so we will do that," King told reporters at the Automotive News World Congress that is held on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

"These are all really good companies," King said. "We just have to convince them that we are not the evil empire that they thought we were at one point."

The UAW said in December that it would launch a campaign to organize the U.S. manufacturing plants for Asian and German automakers. The union has sought unsuccessfully to organize plants for the non-U.S. manufacturers since the 1990s.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Honda Motor Co (7267.T), Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and Kia Motors Co (000270.KS) have extensive manufacturing facilities in the United States. Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) is building a new plant in the United States and BMW (BMWG.DE) has a large U.S. facility that builds vehicles both for the U.S. and international markets.

The newer plants built by non-U.S. automakers are largely in southern states and areas where the union has traditionally struggled to organize workers.

The UAW already represents the U.S.-based General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Chrysler, which is managed by Fiat (FIA.MI). The union's contracts with the three U.S. automakers expire in September. It did not disclose a timetable for talks with non-U.S. based automakers.

Last year the UAW held protests outside Toyota dealerships in California to demonstrate against the automaker's decision to close a union-represented plant in Fremont, California.

King said the "bannering" at Toyota dealerships was a taste of what automakers could expect if they do not adhere to the union's "trust principles" for bargaining.

(Reporting by David Bailey and Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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Comments (6)
scorpvol wrote:
They (UAW) played a major part in the downfall of the Big 3. Look out Toyota and Honda who you “trust”.

Jan 12, 2011 12:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
scorpvol wrote:
They (UAW) played a major part in the demise of the Big 3. Toyota and Honda, watch out who you “trust”.

Jan 12, 2011 1:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MMush wrote:
Thats how all unions are getting in the door these days,talk to management and let them know they will keep the workers in line. This has nothing to do with the workers, it is about keeping the unions in business.

Jan 13, 2011 3:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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