UAW won't name foreign auto organizing target

Wed Dec 7, 2011 4:40pm EST
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By Bernie Woodall

DETROIT (Reuters) - The United Auto Workers union has decided it will not identify an organizing target among foreign automakers with U.S. operations, a shift in strategy in a campaign that union leadership sees as central to its survival.

"We're shifting our strategy a little bit. We are not going to announce a target at all," UAW President Bob King said in an interview. "We are not going to create a fight."

King said that the UAW was in talks with "almost all" of the German, Japanese and Korean automakers with U.S. factories and expected to continue to make progress toward organizing workers in their operations.

But King said that the UAW board had met on Wednesday and decided not to identify a target for an organizing campaign, a sharp change in tactics by the union that represents about 115,000 workers at U.S. automakers.

King has made organizing the transnational or "transplant" automakers a critical piece of the union's strategy since he took over in July 2010.

King has repeatedly said the future of the UAW depends on organizing foreign automakers' U.S. plants, something it has failed to do numerous times in the past.

King said the union will intensify organizing efforts while it changes tactics, and will concentrate on its ability to work with companies rather than against them.

Dennis Williams, UAW secretary-treasurer, who also participated in the interview, said, "We used the wrong word" when the UAW previously said it would "target" a company for a global organizing effort.   Continued...