Vanderbilt University labor expert says GM, UAW tentative agreement could have monumental impact on union organizing

The novel collective bargaining arrangement General Motors and the United Auto Workers have tentatively agreed to could have a major impact on the future of labor organizing in the United States, Vanderbilt University labor expert Dan Cornfield says.

“That the UAW flexed its muscle and was able to work with GM to come up with a creative solution to a pressing national problem – that many people don’t have health care coverage – may spur other workers to unionize,” he said.

Cornfield also says that it is important to note that the UAW was able to unite current workers, who are usually more concerned about job security, and retirees behind the goal of creating an uncommon health care trust for retired workers.

“This agreement seems to be a win-win for all concerned and comes when the auto industry is dealing with globalization’s impact on its financial ability to take care of its workers, so this agreement addresses a lot of issues.”

Cornfield is editor of Work and Occupations, a scholarly journal that covers work, employment and labor issues. He co-edited the 2007 book Labor in the New Urban Battlegrounds: Local Solidarity in a Global Economy.

Media contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS

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