Leaders and members of the National Writers Union joined the United Auto Workers (UAW) Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference Feb. 2-5. The CAP Conference is the annual political and legislative gathering of the entire UAW. Together with some 1,500 delegates from across the United States, attendees lobbied Congress on issues on the UAW's list, including raising the minimum wage and stopping Fast Track trade authority. During the 4-day conference, delegates lobbied their members of Congress.
High-profile speakers at the conference including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who told union delegates they "built the middle class," and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, also addressed the gathering. Delegates also heard from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic labor stalwart Rep. George Miller of California, Congressional Black Caucus co-chair Rep. Marcia Fudge and others.
National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) President Larry Goldbetter, First Vice President Ann Hoffman, CAP Committee Chair Keith Bagwell and New Hampshire CAP Committee Member Gail Kinney represented the NWU at the conference. Hoffman lobbied most Members of Congress from Virginia with two other members of the UAW.
During the conference, President Bob King announced that workers at the Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga, TN will vote whether to join the UAW between February 12 and 14. If the vote is successful, VW and the UAW will form a works council, similar to those in existence in Germany and other countries where VW manufactures. A works council would be a new form of union representation in the U.S., but is well established and highly successful in Europe. King discussed the upcoming election on the "Ed Show" on MSNBC.
“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” said UAW President Bob King. “The UAW seeks to partner with [Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA)] and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor–management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”
The works council model has been successful for Volkswagen elsewhere. The company is recognized around the world as being a leader in respecting the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain, with standards that go beyond labor standards, according to a UAW press release.