Workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee will receive an 11 percent pay boost starting in December 2023, the automaker announced the day before Thanksgiving.
Additionally, Volkswagen says it will “compress” the wage progression timeline for its employees starting in February 2024, though it did not specify how much the time needed to reach top pay will be shortened.
The announcement makes the pay raise sound routine, noting that Volkswagen of America considers wage increases every year “to ensure we continue to offer a competitive and robust compensation package designed to attract and motivate employees.” It also pointed out that it provides a range of benefits plus “a quarterly attendance bonus.”
However, Volkswagen is just one of a lineup of non-union automakers to give their workers a similar pay increase following the likely ratification of the new UAW contract with GM and with Ford and Stellantis. Before Volkswagen, Nissan was the company to increase pay most recently, providing a 10 percent boost along with halving wage progression from eight to four years.
Subaru plans to increase wages by an unspecified amount and is also weighing whether to give its U.S. workers new benefits on top of the higher pay. Honda is giving its American employees an 11 percent raise, the same as Volkswagen, while cutting wage progression to the top tier to three years instead of six.
Toyota was the quickest of all to respond to the UAW negotiations, giving its employees their third, and by far largest, pay increase of 2023 well before the new contract went to the ratification vote. Pay increases exceeded nine percent while wage progression rules give access to top pay in four years versus the earlier eight, while Toyota’s U.S. workers will get more days off than previously as well.
In addition to the success of the UAW at winning significant pay and benefit gains for its Big Three worker members, the words of UAW president Shawn Fain addressing the union after the first UAW GM Council approval for the tentative contract likely catalyzed Volkswagen and others to provide quick, robust wage increases.
During his address, Fain declared “we need to organize the unorganized,” specifically naming Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, Hyundai and Tesla as he stated “our goal is to spend the next few years organizing auto workers across this country.”
Fain also joked, following the multiple non-union automaker pay raises, that UAW also stands for “U Are Welcome.”