DETROIT -- The UAW is taking aim at smaller auto suppliers to stem erosion of its membership.
Its latest target: coatings and glass maker PPG Industries Inc.
The union organized two PPG plants in a week late last month and is going after a third at the end of July.
The drive comes as thousands of General Motors and Delphi Corp. workers prepare to take buyouts, which will thin the union's ranks considerably. The UAW's head count has plunged from about 1.5 million in 1979 to about 599,000 in 2005.
To remedy this, the union in June approved a transfer of $110 million from its strike fund for organizing and educational efforts.
But workers today appear to be increasingly wary of union representation, and the victories at PPG weren't landslides. Fifty-four percent of workers at an Evansville, Ind., plant voted for ratification. Fifty-three percent approved the union at the company's Crestline, Ohio, plant. A July 27 vote is scheduled at a PPG plant in O'Fallon, Mo.
If the union vote passes at the Missouri plant, it would give the UAW five PPG operations.
"We're disappointed, because we believe working directly with our employees offers the best opportunity for our company and its people to meet the many challenges facing the automotive OEM glass industry," PPG spokesman Jeff Worden said in an e-mail to Automotive News.
PPG, of Pittsburgh, ranks No. 32 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America, with estimated North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1.54 billion in 2005.
You may e-mail Greg Migliore at [email protected]