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Tennessee workers choose to join UAW union

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Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga made history by overwhelmingly voting to join the United Auto Workers (UAW), marking a significant victory for the union in an anti-union stronghold like the South. With nearly three quarters of eligible workers casting their ballots in favor of unionization, the UAW secured a strong foothold in a region that has traditionally been resistant to organized labor movements. The atmosphere of triumph and solidarity was palpable as union supporters gathered at I.B.E.W. Local 175 to celebrate the decisive victory.

The mood at the union hall was electric as the votes were counted, revealing a strong mandate for unionization among Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga. Despite strong opposition from Southern governors and Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee, the workers stood united in their decision to band together and join the UAW. President Joe Biden commended the workers for exercising their democratic right to form a union and rebuked those who sought to undermine the vote. The victory not only solidifies the UAW’s increased presence in the South but also sets the stage for future unionization efforts in the region, with workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama gearing up for a similar vote in May.

The successful unionization efforts at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga represent a turning point for organized labor in the South, challenging the prevailing narrative that unions cannot thrive in the region. Led by UAW president Shawn Fain, the union has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with successful strikes and negotiations that have benefited thousands of workers. As the UAW looks ahead to future organizing efforts, the victory in Chattanooga serves as a rallying cry for workers across the South to stand together and demand better working conditions and fair treatment.

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