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“United We Stand: Auto Workers Unionize Across Big Three and Beyond!”

Since Ford, Chrysler and GM announced their collective bargaining agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in late 2019, thousands of autoworkers at other automakers have begun to show collective support and form unions of their own. In the last few months, Honda, Toyota, and Nissan autoworkers have organized to join the UAW, galvanizing their efforts within their own communities and garnering support from elected officials.

The International UAW formed its Honda chapter in California in November 2019, pursuant to representatives there pushing for a union that could stand up for improved wages, decent health care, and retirement security. After meeting with considerable resistance, their efforts began to gain traction when Honda workers in Alabama and Indiana took notice, expressing solidarity and joining forces with their California counterparts. Ultimately, the efforts of the various Honda workers resulted in 1,500 autoworkers in Alabama formally joining the UAW in January 2020, a success that has encouraged similar efforts by auto workers of other automakers.

Likewise, in March 2020, Toyota workers in Mississippi, Texas and Kentucky, as well as autoworkers at other Southeast Toyota plants, coalesced to voice their support for union membership. Similarly, Nissan autoworkers in Mississippi have also begun a formal push to organize, seeking to represent more than 7,000 autoworkers at six plants across the state.

These new contractual leases for autoworkers and their families are garnering the attention of elected officials from both sides of the aisle. In March 2020, a group of Mississippi legislators passed a resolution recognizing that Toyota and Nissan workers in Mississippi had “exercised their right to organize and form a union,” and honored those efforts by expressing its “unconditional support” for the workers.

As autoworkers across the nation struggle with stagnant wages and benefits, and corporate executives grapple with drastic downturns in the sales of new cars, this surge of support for the UAW, accepted as the bargaining representative for thousands of autoworkers in the U.S., comes at an opportune time. Moreover, it appears that the efforts of the Honda, Toyota, and Nissan autoworkers have already begun to pay off, helping to provide a path forward for unions and their members that will lead to improved wages and better working conditions.

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