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UAW Brings Good Tidings from the Southland

Daniel Hinton's picture
Sep 28, 2015

It's not everyday we get to hear good news for unions in the Deep South, but UAW just accomplished something big down in Piedmont, Alabama. In a decisive 89-45 vote, workers at a car parts plan owned and operated by Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) democratically chose to join the international auto workers' union.

One-fourth of the factory jobs were temp positions paying just $9.70/hour, and production workers had their pay capped at $15.80/hour (or about $33,000/year). Add on top of that unaffordable health insurance costs and unsafe working conditions, and the workers had no choice but to organize and push back. They first contacted UAW back in May, and within four months they had formed their own local union.

Tiffany Moore, who works at the CVG plant and raises two children on $13.84/hour, said, "I've never been part of a union before, but after years of scraping by while the company ignored our concerns, anyone could see that the only option we had left was to join together to demand the change we need to support ourselves and families."

Though Alabama has no state minimum wage law — the federal minimum is $7.25 — the labor movement has been more successful there recently than in most areas of the Sun Belt. Compare Alabama's union membership rate of 10.7 percent to Georgia's 5.3 percent and Mississippi's 3.7 percent.

CVG is a New Albany, Ohio-based global supplier of heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles. The company generated $839.7 million in revenues last year and $217.6 million in the second quarter of the current fiscal year. They can afford a fair union contract.

According to UAW, CVG's business plan, which relies heavily on temp workers to squash union drives and suppress wages, has become increasingly common throughout the nation's manufacturing sector, especially auto parts production.

If you would like more information on joining/forming a union with UAW, which represents workers across many different sectors of the economy, don't hesitate to contact an organizer today.

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