And no, it’s not an April Fools day story! Bloomberg reports
The United Auto Workers membership rose 6 percent to 376,612 last year, the first gain in six years as U.S. automakers began hiring amid a recovery in sales.
The UAW’s membership increased by 21,421 members from 355,191 in 2009, according to a union filing today with the U.S. Department of Labor.
UAW President Bob King has wasted no time in declaring this a sign of recovery in what you might call the UAW’s “core business”:
This increase is a reflection of new organizing by the UAW, the recovery of the domestic auto industry and UAW members who won a first contract during the year. We hope to continue this growth in 2011 and beyond, as we fight to win a more fair and democratic process for workers to organize.
Of course, King’s attempt to link this minor improvement in his union’s membership to the recovery of the domestic auto industry is the real April Fools joke here…
The Freep reports that, of the UAW’s 21,421 new workers, nearly half are obviously from the non-automotive sector.
In 2010, the UAW won new members after organizing 6,500 postdoctoral researchers at the University of California, 2,500 casino workers at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut and 700 workers at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.
So, about half the union’s growth is coming from autos and the other half is coming from universities and casinos. Meanwhile, King admits that his union has lost the ability to dictate terms to even the automakers that are still UAW organized, telling his membership [via Bloomberg]
My heart aches. We don’t have the justice our members deserve. We let unionization fall so far that we don’t have the power to do pattern bargaining.
Which is why King pins the long-term viability of his union on its ability to organize transplant and overseas auto workers. If that effort fails, says King (and it looks like it might),
I don’t think there’s a long-term future for the UAW — I really don’t,