The pressure is on for United Auto Workers’ boss Bob King.
With retirement looming and a hand-picked replacement ready to take the helm of the once-mighty UAW, if he doesn’t succeed at unionizing at least one of the auto plants owned by a foreign auto maker, King may end up finishing his tenure as a failure.
With eight months left in his tenure, UAW President Bob King has reversed the union’s membership decline, negotiated contracts that accelerated the Detroit Three automakers’ recovery and established stronger ties with international labor organizations.
Yet he has not achieved his most important goal: organizing an Asian or German assembly plant in the Southeast U.S.
“Bob King has basically staked his legacy on organizing these international assembly plants,” said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research. “Unless they unionize more of the automotive work force in the country, the UAW workers will become wage takers, not wage setters in this industry.” [Emphasis added.]
As his retirement nears, with self-imposed pressure, King & Co. will likely be putting more pressure on unionizing the employees at Volkswagen, Mercedez and Nissan.
If that happens, without any of the foreign companies agreeing to the UAW’s treasured card check, it is possible that the UAW may file a petition at one (or more) of the auto plants and, if that happens, it will increase the likelihood that King will end his reign as an overall failure.