UAW Wins Alabama Car-Seat Plant Vote By 2-To-1 Ratio

UAW Wins Alabama Car-Seat Plant Vote By 2-To-1 Ratio

Low wages, working in 106-degree temperatures – as management refused to fix the air conditioning – lousy benefits and no rights on the job led workers at the Commercial Vehicle Group’s Piedmont, Ala., car seat plant to vote to unionize with the Auto Workers, and by a 2-to-1 ratio.

The 89-45 tally among the 210 workers on Sept. 22 marked a key win for the union as it campaigns to unionize both car plants and car part makers in the union-hostile South. CVG workers make seats and parts in Alabama, ten other states and several foreign countries.

Pay as low as $9.70 hourly, bad working conditions – including the high temperatures – expensive health care and abusive use of temps were key issues in the organizing drive, UAW said.  Temps are 60 of the 210 workers in Piedmont, and they earn the $9.70, with no benefits at all, the union added.

“Our backs were up against the wall – in just a few years, the company gutted our health insurance, took away personal days, and started replacing jobs with temp positions that pay less than Wal-Mart,” Tiffany Moore, a 34-year-old mother of two, told the union. 

“I’ve never been part of a union before, but after years of scraping by while the company ignored our concerns, anyone could see that the only option we had left was to join together to demand the change we need to support ourselves and families,” she added.

The broken air conditioning, and management refusal to even consider worker complaints and demands to fix it, was the last straw, CVG worker Becky Buttram wrote in an op-ed in the Anniston Star. CVG offered workers popsicles and bottled water. “We need good jobs, not Popsicles,” Buttram replied in her op-ed.