German union teams with UAW, opens Spring Hill office

Large German labor union IG Metall has partnered with the United Auto Workers to launch the Transnational Partnership Initiative, a program that calls for better pay and working conditions at the U.S. plants of German car makers, which employ some 100,000 people. The unions say the industry's shift toward the South has come with a deterioration in the quality of life for many of its workers.

The push for a German-style works council at the VW factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., has been the UAW’s highest profile effort to organize workers at a foreign-owned plant in the southern U.S. recently.

The effort has drawn the UAW to the powerful IG Metall trade union, whose former boss Berthold Huber was named interim chairman of VW AG’s supervisory board following the resignation of Ferdinand Piech last spring. Huber has been a vocal proponent of the UAW’s organizing drive at the VW’s Tennesee factory, urging workers in a 2013 letter to join the union, Reuters reported at the time.

Looking to keep your German sharp? Here's IG Metall's release on the topic.

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