UAW President Shawn Fain commended the nearly 200 new members who fought to organize an automotive parts supplier that makes tops for the Ford Mustang, Ford Bronco, Chevrolet Corvette and Jeep.
Webasto, a global company headquartered near Munich, Germany, has a presence in Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Plymouth Township, New Hudson and Fenton. The manufacturer makes roof, charging, heating and air conditioning and battery systems.
Workers at Webasto Roof Systems in Plymouth Township, who began their organizing drive in November, voted earlier this month to join UAW Local 3000 in Woodhaven.
“This election was a tough fight with heavy employer opposition. But these workers, as courageous as they were, they stuck together,” Fain said Wednesday during live remarks to members streamed on the UAW Facebook page. “This win goes on to prove that we are continuing to get back to our roots and back in the fight.”
He gave a shoutout to union organizers by name who have “given up many nights and weekends” in support of Webasto workers “in their efforts to build power and win justice in their workplace.”
Fain continued, “This is another win for our union. And it proves yet again that we can organize in manufacturing when we pick a target, we stick to it, and we give it everything we have. I’m excited to see our union family growing and look forward to supporting our new UAW family members in their fight to win a first contract.”
Collective bargaining is essential to protecting workers, he said.
The UAW put out a news release May 19, after the vote, that included member comments about the Webasto campaign:
- “People have been mistreated, not getting paid, having their schedules changed with no notice. We want to leave this place better for the next generation,” said Sheron Johnson, a production worker at Webasto.
- “We used to have our voices heard at Webasto, that’s all we want. To be treated as an asset to the company and not just a number,” said Gustavo Vasquez, a 17-year Webasto employee.
- “These brave workers stuck together in the face of fierce opposition from the company. As they move from this organizing victory to the fight for a first contract, we’ve got their back 100%,” said Steve Gonzalez, president of UAW Local 3000.
- “Over and over, we’re seeing workers across the auto supply chain come together in a common cause for justice on the job,” said Laura Dickerson, UAW Region 1A director based in Taylor.
The UAW did not provide details on the employer opposition at Webasto during the union organizing campaign, when asked by the Detroit Free Press Thursday.
Corey Stowell, Webasto Americas vice president of human resources, told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, “Throughout this process, we respected the rights of our employees to engage in collective bargaining, without any interference or coercion from our side. Contrary to claims, we did not act in opposition to unionization efforts; instead, we genuinely attempted to listen, to understand and to educate, as needed.”
Stowell said, “While we had thorough and meaningful discussions with our Plymouth employees, the team at the plant decided to join a union, a decision reflective of their desire to have a stronger voice and influence in shaping their work environment. We look forward to continuing to work with our employees to ensure we are providing a safe, supportive and collaborative environment for all.”