4/13/2015: UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel, who serves as director of the union’s International Department, today joined well-known actor Danny Glover and a top leader of the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council in briefing international supporters on the progress of UAW Local 42 in Chattanooga.
Speaking to delegates at a labor conference in Sao Paulo Brazil, Casteel described how Volkswagen employees in Chattanooga “did not give up” despite outside interference in 2014 and even quoted Local 42 member Chris Brown, who told media outlets that “last year’s experience only made us stronger.”
After Volkswagen employees established Local 42 in July 2014, the local union quickly signed up a majority of the blue-collar workforce in the Chattanooga plant and earned the confidence of the Volkswagen Global Group and IG Metall, which jointly expressed their desire for Chattanooga to be a “UAW-represented facility.” Volkswagen soon verified Local 42’s membership at the highest level under a new company policy. Now, local union leaders are in regular talks with Volkswagen plant management regarding matters of concern to employees.
“The members of our UAW local union are on a path to join their Volkswagen co-workers from around the world in securing a voice in the workplace,” Casteel said to loud applause from hundreds of attendees at the CNM/CUT Congress. Members of CNM/CUT, the Brazilian metalworkers union, have been closely monitoring developments in Chattanooga due to Volkswagen’s strong presence in Brazil.
After the speech, Casteel and Glover, a leading champion of workers rights, joined Volkswagen Global Group Vice President Valdir Freire Dias (better known by his nickname “Chalita”) in touring Volkswagen’s Achieta facility. On the tour, they sported Local 42’s signature blue shirts, to the delight of the carmaker’s Brazilian team members.