| DETROIT, June 2
DETROIT, June 2 Retiring United Auto Workers
President Bob King said in his farewell address on Monday said
that if the union is to regain the power it once had it will
have to make itself a global player, including organizing
foreign automakers in the United States.
All of the corporations the UAW deals with leverage their
power globally, said King in a speech at the UAW's convention in
Detroit. The UAW and unions around the world must support one
another or be doomed to be increasingly marginalized.
"You can't just be a national union to take on a fight with
these global corporations and win unless you build global
solidarity. We have made a lot of progress there," during his
four-year term that is ending this week, said King.
King said the need for global cooperation affects not only
the UAW's core automotive industry membership, but also those
who work in gaming, agricultural equipment and aerospace
The UAW is a U.S. union that can represent only U.S.
workers, but it can achieve greater power by aligning with
unions outside the country, said King.
The need for a global front with corporations was a theme
of the UAW's four-day convention. Four speeches were given on
Monday, and two were delivered in German as delegates listened
to translations on individual headsets.
The UAW in February lost by 44 votes an election at the
Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to
represent more than 1,500 workers there. The UAW worked with the
German Union IG Metall to get VW to remain neutral.
Frank Patta, general secretary of the Volkswagen AG global
works council, vowed that the effort to organize Chattanooga
workers was not over.
"We lost one battle but we did not lose the entire fight and
we will not be beaten," Patta said.
Also speaking Monday was Berthold Huber, the former head of
IG Metall and now president of a global umbrella group,
IndustriALL, which claims to represent 50 million workers
King said he is convinced that Dennis Williams, expected to
be elected next UAW president on Wednesday, will maintain an
emphasis global organizing efforts.
King, in an interview with Reuters last week, said that
because of cooperation with IG Metall, German automaker plants
in the U.S. South including VW, Daimler AG's
Mercedes-Benz and BMW will eventually become
Also on Monday, the UAW reacted to reports that pro-union
workers in Alabama want the UAW to stop organizing efforts
because they have gone on too long without success.
"They want to have an election right away," said Williams to
reporters at the convention. "We perceive it that we have more
building to do there."
Williams said Gary Casteel, regional UAW director for much
of the South including Alabama, will visit the workers once this
week's UAW convention ends.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)