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For 75 years, the focus of the United Auto Workers has been on the Big Three Detroit auto makers. With two of those companies in bankruptcy and membership continuing to decline, the UAW now says it will target foreign-owned car plants for membership drives. Many of the plants are in right-to-work (protecting workers from being forced into unions) states. One labor expert says the move is critical to the UAW’s survival. One thing is certain, the UAW is willing to spend money in this effort. Members approved spending $60 million for organizing from a fund that contains more than $800 million.


  1. Examine the legal protections for workers and legal issues that exist in the workplace. Take a position for or against labor unions and use the information in these sections to build your case.
  2. Review the information on labor unions in the chapter. Aside from being legally permitted to do so, what reasons are there for the UAW to target foreign-owned car plants? Are these reasons legitimate?
  3. Review the practices associated with maintaining a quality workforce. From your reading of the article, what things are foreign-owned car companies currently doing for their workers? Imagine you were the human resources manager at one of these facilities. What strategy would you develop to keep the UAW from being a threat?

SOURCE: M. Dolan, “UAW Sets a Strategy on Foreign Car Plants,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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