Following record contract gains at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the United Auto Workers has signed up more than 1,000 workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee to vote on union representation.

Since the end of the UAW strike in November, the group has targeted more than a dozen non-union factories for membership. 

What You Need To Know

  • More than 1,000 workers at a non-unionized Volkswagen factory in Chatanooga, Tenn., signed union authorization cards in less than a week, the UAW announced Thursday

  • The UAW said VW profits have increased more than 60% over the past three years while vehicle prices have increased more than 40%

  • In November, VW announced it would increase wages at the Chatanooga factory by 11%

  • Following record contract gains with the Big Three Detroit automakers, the UAW is targeting non-unionized car companies

“People are standing up like never before,” Volkswagen worker Steve Cochran said on the UAW web site announcing the signups Thursday. In less than a week, 30% of the plant’s non-unionized workers signed authorization cards to join the UAW movement.

“There are a lot of young workers in the plant now and this generation wants respect," Cochran said. "They’re not okay with mistreatment by management. They see what’s happening at Starbucks and Amazon. They know that standing up to join the union is how you win fair treatment, fair pay and a better life.”

On its website, the union said VW profits have increased more than 60% over the past three years, while its vehicle prices have increased by more than 40%. The UAW said 13 top executives at the company make a combined $60 million.

The Chattanooga plant employs roughly 3,800 people who make the VW Atlas and Atlas Sport SUVs, as well as the all-electric ID.4.

On its website, the UAW said, “It’s time for non-union autoworkers to join the UAW and win economic justice at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Tesla, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, Rivian, Lucid, Volvo and beyond.”

Since 50,000 UAW workers struck for over 40 days to win 25% wage increases and other benefits at the Big Three Detroit automakers, several non-union car companies have announced raises for their factory workers.

In November, VW was one of a handful of companies that said it would raise wages, increasing pay 11% at the Chattanooga plant. Last month, Honda announced it would increase factory worker pay 11% starting next year, and Hyundai said it would increase wages 25% by 2028 at its Alabama and Georgia factories.