The UAW's Southern Gamble

Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants

by Stephen Silvia

The UAW's Southern Gamble is the first in-depth assessment of the United Auto Workers' efforts to organize foreign vehicle plants (Daimler-Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Volkswagen) in the American South since 1989, an era when union membership declined precipitously. Stephen J. Silvia chronicles transnational union cooperation between the UAW and its counterparts in Brazil, France, Germany, and Japan and documents the development of employer strategies that have proven increasingly effective at thwarting unionization.

Silvia shows that when organizing, unions must now fight on three fronts: at the worksite; in the corporate boardroom; and in the political realm. The UAW's Southern Gamble makes clear that the UAW's failed campaigns in the South can teach hard-won lessons about challenging the structural and legal roadblocks to union participation and effectively organizing workers within and beyond the auto industry.

Stephen J. Silvia is a Professor at American University's School of International Service, where he teaches international economics, international trade relations, and comparative politics. He is the author of Holding the Shop Together.

The UAW's Southern Gamble



  • publisher
    Cornell University Press
  • publisher place
    Ithaca, NY