Breaking News
More () »

'When the jobs change, we're in them': Auto unions respond to production of more electric, hybrid vehicles

UAW 12 leader Mark Buford said the union wants to work with the local government to create more battery plants to produce electric vehicles to keep jobs in the area.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo's United Auto Workers Local 12 is part of the prominent automotive industry in the city and they want to keep up with the driving trend of hybrid and electric vehicles that are impacting the industry.

UAW Local 12 Financial Secretary Mark Buford said the changes are going to have a big impact on jobs.

"It could affect a lot of people, and we want to be prepared for that. We want to work with the governments, we want to work with the automakers in a meaningful way to make sure that when the jobs change, we're in them," he said.

Buford said the Jeep plants create many exhaust systems and radiators that are not needed in the electric vehicles, so the union is looking ahead and maintaining the jobs for the other parts.

"We can take care of that job loss by having other parts of that industry here in Northwest Ohio," he said. "So we're going to need a battery plant and or plants to take care of that loss of jobs."

The erosion of the middle class, jobs moving out of the country and some unfair trade agreements are things Buford said cause challenges for unions. 

However, he said they have grown from 6,000 to 11,000 members in the past decade. Other unions like The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have seen the growth too.

"Union approval across the country is like 71% now ... I think you're seeing a lot of younger folks today wanting to get into the labor movement," ASCFME Local 2415 President Randy Desposito said.

Workers at fast-food chains and restaurants across the country have started to unionize their workers. On Aug. 25, employees at a Chipotle in Lansing, Michigan, were the first in the company to unionize. 

Desposito said goals for the future are to organize and grow the unions, especially the middle class.

Before You Leave, Check This Out