Butler Joins Colleagues in Warning Non-Unionized Automakers Not to Interfere in UAW Unionization Efforts

January 4th, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler (D-Calif) joined 32 colleagues in a letter to 13 non-unionized automakers urging them not to illegally block United Auto Workers’ (UAW) unionization efforts at their manufacturing plants. After the ratification of historic agreements between UAW and the Big Three automakers in Detroit, thousands of non-union autoworkers are publicly organizing to join the UAW.

“We are concerned by reporting at numerous automakers that management has acted illegally to block unionization efforts,” the Senators wrote in a letter to the chief executive officers of Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo. “…These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers. We therefore urge you all to commit to implementation of a neutrality agreement at your manufacturing plants.”

“Your commitment to neutrality would ensure that management does not pressure workers into voting against unionization or delaying the election process. We believe a neutrality agreement is the bare minimum standard manufacturers should meet in respecting workers’ rights, especially as companies receive and benefit from federal funds related to the electric vehicle transition,” they continued.

“All workers, no matter what states they live in, should have a free and unhindered opportunity to join a union. We strongly urge you to implement a neutrality agreement at all of your plants and commit to negotiating in good faith if your employees do elect to unionize with the UAW,” the senators concluded.

“Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen. We applaud these US Senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country,” said UAW President Shawn Fain.

Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) also joined in signing the letter.

Read the full text of the letter to the CEOs of 13 non-unionized automakers here and below.


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