DETROIT -- To add global reach to its organizing drive of the German and Asian transplant auto plants, the UAW has created what it is calling its Global Organizing Institute to systematically train union organizers in all major carmaking countries.
The institute was announced this morning here at the UAW Special Bargaining Convention.
The union has brought the first group of interns from China, India, Brazil, Germany, South Korea and others to study U.S. organizing techniques so they can take that knowledge to work at home, said Dennis Williams, UAW Secretary Treasurer. The interns receive six weeks of training and experience in the field.
During a presentation this morning, the interns pledged to bring pressure in their home countries to any transplant in the United States that refuses to allow free and fair union campaigns at its U.S. factories.
The UAW is trying to organize the U.S. transplants located predominantly in right-to-work states in the South. UAW President Bob King said his goal is to organize at least one transplant this year. The union has asked the leadership of those car companies to sign a pledge that they would not interfere with the campaigns.
Williams said the institute would solicit support from unions globally to support each other's organizing drives.
The UAW has threatened to punish with protests and publicity any carmaker that tries to intimidate workers involved in organizing. Williams said the UAW has already met with hundreds of nonunion workers at the transplants since announcing its organizing drive last year.