UAW pickets Hyundai dealerships, backs off transplant organization target

The UAW says it is protesting at Hyundai dealerships to support the automaker's Korean workers.

The UAW has vowed to organize at least one foreign automaker this year, but the union says its protests today at U.S. Hyundai dealerships was to show support for the automaker's Korean workers and was not part of its membership drive.

"This has nothing to do with the domestic organizing campaign," Michele Martin, a UAW spokeswoman, said of the protests. "Hyundai is not the target."

Interestingly, Martin added that the UAW's organizing efforts have fallen behind schedule and that the union will not achieve its target of organizing a foreign plant by year's end. Martin's comments are the first suggesting the union would miss that goal.

"At this point, our hope is to make a decision about who we're going to target by the end of the year," Martin said. "But obviously, we won't have the organizing campaign completed by the end of the year."

UAW vice president Joe Ashton recently stated that the union was "very close" to selecting a target.

UAW membership increased 6 percent to 376,612 last year -- marking the first increase in six years -- but the union is still a long way from its peak membership of 1.5 million in 1979.

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