UAW preparing ad campaign urging consumers to buy US-made cars

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is preparing an ad campaign that calls on consumers to buy US-made cars and trucks taking inspiration from president Donald Trump's efforts to rebuild the country's manufacturing sector.

UAW president, Dennis Williams told reporters yesterday that the union wanted to take advantage of what it saw as a movement in the US to bring back manufacturing jobs lost to cheaper-labour countries such as Mexico. "If it's not built in the United States then don't buy it," Williams said yesterday at the UAW's headquarters in Detroit.

According to commentators, the UAW could be facing a tough battle, in view of the success that foreign-made cars have had in the US, as also the popularity of other imported goods. They said it suggested  that consumers were more focused on price and quality rather than simply whether something was made in the US.

Polls had suggested this to be the case as an Associated Press-GfK poll last April found that Americans would like to buy products made in the US, but not if they cost more. Given the choice between a $50 pair of trousers made overseas or an $85 pair manufactured in the US, two-thirds said they would buy the cheaper pair.

Meanwhile, UAW was making moves to help organise employees at Tesla Inc's electric-car plant, a move, if it were to prove successful would see the union the break new ground beyond legacy US automakers' factories.

A group of Tesla workers have contacted the union to seek assistance organizing, and the UAW is in discussion with them, Dennis Williams, the union's president, told reporters during a roundtable Thursday in Detroit. He said union organisers had received complaints about long hours and potentially unsafe conditions at Tesla's plant in Fremont, California.

''We have organizers out there,'' Williams said. ''I do have a guy I hired who is a labor organizer but there's nothing abnormal about it,'' Bloomberg reported.