How the UAW Lost Tennessee

By Trey Kovacs, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Foreign automakers located in the South, known in the industry as transplants, have long been a target of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s organizing strategy. For the UAW, unionizing transplants may be a matter of survival, as membership has fallen from a high in 1979 of 1.5 million to under 400,000 today. In 2011, at the union’s legislative conference, UAW President Bob King said, “If we don’t organize these transnationals, I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW—I really don’t.” That same year, he ramped up the union’s efforts by pledging $60 million to unionize transplants.

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