By on March 31, 2014

Bob King

Under the leadership of outgoing president Bob King, the United Auto Workers have seen their rolls increase to 9,000 members in 2013, marking the fourth consecutive year of increases for the union.

Automotive News reports the current total membership holds at 391,415, up 2.3 percent from 2012. The increase can be attributed to recruitment drives at IC Bus, Flex-a-Gate and Faurecia, as well as casinos in Ohio and Las Vegas.

Annual membership last declined in 2009, when 355,191 remained from 2008′s 431,037 figure after the Detroit Three fended off declining sales and production amid the onset of the Great Recession. 2008′s figure, however, pales in comparison to the UAW’s peak roll of over 1.5 million members in 1979.

Despite the increase in membership, the UAW is still battling over plants in the south, including the high-profile fights in Chattanooga, Tenn. and Canton, Miss., the former of which resulted in a loss at the polls earlier this year.

Spending is also down for the union — $214 million in 2013 vs. $260 million in 2012 — due to falling dues and low membership. A dues increase is expected to be put to vote at the UAW’s June convention, where King’s replacement will also be elected.

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15 Comments on “UAW Sees Fourth Consecutive Increase In Membership...”


  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    How long before the UAW has to follow CAW into a partnership with another union? That spending level is unsustainable for the size of membership.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    After years of extorting high wages from the automakers, I hold little regard for the UAW. I understand and applaud unions of the past that helped enact laws and programs to protect employees, ensure proper treatment, introduce safety and training programs, and provide a reasonable working wage. I don’t think there’s any debate that it went awry, when those leaders became abusive of their own power, and nearly bankrupted all three domestic car companies.

    Maybe there is a good reason why the UAW needs to keep an eye on the welfare of the workers, but I’d love to see the budget of the UAW and the way they choose to spend the money they collect from those workers. Do they still lose money on that resort known as Black Lake? I submit there is a lot more questionable spending to the expense and detriment of the people who work hard every day to provide the funds for the UAW’s expansion efforts.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Good synopsis. Yet I also believe that as long as the ‘crats continue to wield the political power in America, we’ll see an increase in union membership.

      The current president, the current administration, the NLRB, the Senate leadership and many in the Democrat Political Party are overwhelmingly pro-union.

      That only goes to show that old saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute”, still has merit.

      • 0 avatar
        mr.cranky

        @highdesertcat-

        I can’t ever understand how someone can live in a world where they believe that unions are a bad thing no matter what.

        And don’t get me started with that “Unions are bad! But they were useful back then!” attitude.

        It’s a bunch of patronizing bullshit.

        • 0 avatar
          Timtoolman

          I didn’t say all unions…specifically- the UAW. And if you want a current example; look at what the VW camp is threatening because Tennessee shot down a union shop there.

          As I’ve stated- I would like to see where the money goes. It won’t happen, though.

        • 0 avatar
          Yeah_right

          I do. Bad no matter what unless the local leadership is so docile that it’s like the employees aren’t unionized at all.

          In a modern, global, interconnected economy, unions have no purpose other than to make American labor expensive and less productive (and, of course, to enrich union leaders and Dem politicians.)

          Think of a dead or dying industry – steel, automakers in the northern US, ship building – and you see the utterly predictable consequence of above-market pay to an adversarial, entitled work force. The decades following WWII were a golden age for unions only because international competitors were reduced to rubble. We will never return to a time when unions can extract a middle-class lifestyle for low-skill work.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          mr.cranky, I grew up in a union household. My dad was IBEW and my mom belonged to one of the unions who later affiliated with the SEIU.

          The IBEW got my dad a job as a shipboard electrician when no one else would. My mom cleaned hotel rooms in their early days as a married couple.

          As they progressed through life they were able to better themselves to where they did not have to belong to a union to get fair treatment in their employment.

          So I have seen both sides of the issue and I have an appreciation for the good that a union can do. But I also have gained an insight into what is bad about a union and unions in general.

          That’s why the US government stepped in to mandate restrictions and rules on employers doing business in America.

          Most unions themselves have a readily identifiable track record of what they have done to their employers. And how good a track record that is depends on whether a person is the employer or the employee. I understand the folks at the former Hostess are somewhat conflicted about that.

          I have yet to find out what any union can do in this day and age where the US government has already legislated into law what an employer must do for their employees, other than deduct the dues from an individual’s paycheck every two weeks.

          That said, if employees decide they want a union to represent them, that’s their choice.

          But then why do people bitch when the employers take their employment opportunities elsewhere, where there is no union?

          Employers are also free to decide to take their business elsewhere rather than face extortion and extinction at the hands of union demands.

          Make no mistake. Unions have never existed to help an employer become more profitable. If anything, unions want to share in the profits of an employer but never the employers’ losses.

          Of course, that issue may have changed a bit when the UAW became part-owner in GM and Fiatsler. Now, to threaten a strike would be like shooting themselves in the foot, or cutting off their nose to spite their face.

          • 0 avatar
            SoCalMikester

            Im a teamster in a retail warehouse position, for 25 yrs now.

            Its not about pay or benefits, its about how the company treats you as a person. With a union, you have someone to complain to and to act as a sounding board.

            Im a good employee, and I should be entitled to weekends off ahead of the cute gal who started last week. Ive seen THAT firsthand.

            Thats most of what unions do- take care of shift and schedule issues, make things fair.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Just curious what your opinions of CEO’s making millions per year, and giant corporations might be?

  • avatar
    Waterview

    One comment and one question:

    “Under the leadership of outgoing president Bob King, the United Auto Workers have seen their rolls increase to 9,000 members in 2013, marking the fourth consecutive year of increases for the union”

    Grammar police: “seen their rolls increase by 9,000 members . . . .

    Question: The UAW’s annual spending was $214 million in 2013? If there were no major strikes, what makes up their spend? This seems unusually high, but there’s much I don’t know.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Basic right-wing argument summed up for the TLDR crowd: If you unionize people with more money than you can take your job somewhere cheaper then forcibly sell those goods and services back to you because that’s the way the world works even though we wrote those rules.

    Was that short enough? Frankly the whole argument when boiled down to that level seems to make little sense. Why not accept protectionism? We don’t really need or have benefited from free trade as much as we like to tout, in fact rank and file citizens have largely suffered under it. But don’t let a good moral economic theory get in the way of reality, right, boys?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Does the UAW tax the lower tiered workers with the socialist dues?

    I hope not. As the system of pay for the lower tiered workers is unfair.

    Are the disadvantaged lower tiered auto workers forced to be a part of the UAW. This would inflate the numbers of UAW workers.

    But, are those underpaid worker happy with the position they are in?

    Can a person work in one of the Big 3 plants and refuse to be in the UAW? I hope so, as it would be un-American to force someone into a religion or political position they disagree with.

  • avatar
    Glenn Mercer

    Minor point: it is Flex-N-Gate not Flex-a-Gate.

    Not that either version is especially elegant or informative.

    I just like to nitpick! (grin)

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Corporation(as a whole) acts like ‘sociopath’..
    Uninos were created a long time ago to protect people from..suits(they are dangerous but irrelevant(after all) – yeah, they have NBA’a and MBA’s:), but they are just short-sihghted, career-driven, brainwashed tools) and the ‘real OWNers’[watch: George Carlin - Owners]:)

    Who want to go back to XIX century wild-capitalismus ? .. we’ve got global-rat-race right now.. and this trend is growing and speeding up ..


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