November 14, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Aiken, SC – After a three-year organizing campaign, more than 150 workers at the Autoneum auto-parts plant in Aiken officially joined the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in early November.
“It is a good-paying job, but they wanted a voice in hours and operations,” said RWDSU Southeast Council president Edgar Fields. Workers sought out the RWDSU because it represents employees at an Autoneum plant in Ohio, he added. The company, which makes soundproofing and heat-insulation products for cars, would frequently change peoples’ work hours and overtime, making it hard for them to have stable life schedules. Workers at the Aiken plant voted against union representation twice, Fields told the Aiken Standard, but they eventually realized that the union wasn’t “an outside entity,” but would protect them against management favoritism. “The union equalizes all people,” he said. “The contract doesn’t deal with race or gender, it focuses on seniority and skill.” Read more