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Levon Hardwick is vice president of UAW Local 2083, which he helped organize in 2000 at Delphi Interiors in Cottondale, Ala. Back then all the workers were temporary employees. Today the 100 or so workers are UAW members. Hardwick, 51, and his wife, who works at the Mercedes plant in Vance, Ala., have four children.
We had a bunch of flowbacks. Almost 90 percent of our workforce turned over. We had nothing but young people in the plant. Our second shift is totally new people.
The average workers on second shift are in their 20s. I feel good about it. Management tries to get away with whatever they can, so we’re having a constant battle with them. But we’re getting them up to speed.
Back then the company tried every dirty trick in the book. A lot of them are gone now, but some still try to intimidate us. If we didn’t hold them to the contract, they’d get away with it.
They know we’re looking out for each other and for all of our best interests, so they get a good feeling about the union. We make sure the company treats them fairly. We don’t ask for anything more than that.