Stephen J. Silvia, "The UAW's Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants" (IRL Press, 2023)


The UAW's Southern Gamble: Organizing Workers at Foreign-Owned Vehicle Plants (IRL Press, 2023) 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.

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Thomas Discenna

Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly.

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