Workers at Magna International Inc.’s new Spring Hill, Tenn., plant voted nearly unanimously to join the UAW, giving the union a key victory in a right-to-work U.S. state.
The UAW said workers voted 192-1 to join the union. About 230 workers are employed at the 122,500-square-foot plant, which opened in 2015 and produces seats for the Cadillac XT5 and the GMC Acadia.
“This is an exciting time for Magna members and the UAW is looking forward to working with Magna and members in the plant to create the modern efficient quality environment for their customers,” UAW Region 8 Director Ray Curry said in a statement.
A UAW spokesman declined to say when collective bargaining between the union and Magna is set to begin. A voicemail left for a Magna spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
The vote gives the UAW a victory in the South, where the union has often struggled to unionize workers amid a political climate that is often unfriendly to organized labour. Magna’s Spring Hill plant is about 130 miles northwest of Chattanooga, where the UAW is waging a high-profile battle for organization at Volkswagen’s assembly plant there.
The Magna plant is located near GM’s Spring Hill Manufacturing plant, which assembles the XT5 and Acadia. Like workers at the GM plant, Magna workers in Spring Hill will be represented by Local 1853.
“Our positive history in Spring Hill at GM is a major factor in the teamwork needed to build such quality products and that is that spirit that Magna members have embraced,” Curry said.
The UAW represents workers at five of Magna’s 54 factories in the U.S.
Magna International, headquartered in Aurora, Ontario, is ranked No. 3 on Automotive News’ list of top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide sales of $32.1 billion to automakers in 2015.