President Joe Biden walks along the UAW picket line and engages with union members at the GM Willow Run Distribution Center, Tuesday, September 26, 2023, in Belleville, Michigan. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced on Wednesday that it is committing $40 million in new funds through 2026 for the purpose of supporting unionization efforts.

The UAW is looking to capitalize on what it sees as an “explosion in organizing activity” at automaker and electric vehicle battery plants to expand the number of unionized workers, particularly in the southern U.S., according to an announcement. The union boasted more than 10,000 autoworkers signing union cards to join the UAW at 14 different non-union automakers spanning from South Carolina to California.

The union points to growing unionization support among workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a majority of workers have pledged to join the UAW, according to the announcement. Workers at a Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama, and a Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama, also have a substantial portion of workers pledging to join the union.

The UAW is also looking to ensure that the auto industry remains heavily unionized amid the transition to EVs, specifically looking to support union efforts at battery plants that are generally not included in typical union contracts, according to the UAW.

The union had a huge win near the end of 2023 when it signed a new contract with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, with workers receiving a 25% hike in wages over the course of the deal among other benefits, after a six-week strike. The deal with GM included a provision adding EV battery workers to the contract.

Workers and leaders at the UAW have long been wary of calls for a transition to EVs, pointing out that they do not require the same amount of manpower to produce the same number of vehicles, potentially costing jobs.

Shawn Fain, UAW president, announced in November 2023 that the UAW would be looking to unionize American electric vehicle manufacturers Lucid, Rivian and Tesla, as well as foreign automakers with plants in the U.S. such as BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

The UAW did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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