By on June 4, 2014

UAW President Bob King Speaking At 36th UAW Constitutional Convention

Automotive News reports the United Auto Workers have approved a dues increase to 2.5 hours of pay per month during the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit. The increase, the first since 1967, is expected to bring in nearly $50 million annually to the newly renamed International Strike and Defense Fund. Though a majority supported the increase through a show of hands after a voice vote proved inconclusive, the move was hotly debated prior to voting.

During the debate, where 40 of the 1,100 delegates representing all of the regions where the UAW has a presence offered both views for and against the dues increase, long-shot union presidential candidate Gary Walkowicz of Dearborn, Mich. held that the vote should have been put forth before the 390,000-plus rank-and-file instead of the delegation. Walkowicz claimed an increase would cause some members to stop paying dues to the UAW once current contracts with the Detroit Three expire in September of 2015, thanks to a right-to-work law passed by Michigan in 2013. On the other hand, outgoing president Bob King said that the increase would ultimately give the union the power to merit a fairer outcome for its members from employers in the automotive industry, and to continue organization efforts among the transplants.

Detroit Free Press‘s Tom Walsh says that whomever will fill King’s shoes beginning Thursday will need to learn from past mistakes and defeats and establish a “more compelling case for the value proposition of union membership” should the UAW move forward overall. Though King was able to boost rolls up to 22,000 and save/create 28,000 jobs in his four-year term, the union also suffered setbacks among the transplants, particularly with the February 2014 election held at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Walsh adds the UAW will have a tougher road still to travel, from the aforementioned right-to-work legislation Michigan that could see some members cease paying dues, to the contract bargaining with the Detroit Three in 2015, all to show “how workers’ lives will improve, [and] how unions will help communities grow more jobs,” lest they go “extinct.”

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50 Comments on “UAW Raises Member Dues For First Time Since 1967...”


  • avatar

    As others have said in similar articles, let me get the popcorn. Should provide an entertaining read, but as it regards a union, it’ll will hardly be an enlightening one.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      It’s the old and tired rejection of institutions that will exist no matter what the internet thinks.

      There is no sense in getting wound up over someone else’s livelihood. If people feel so cheated, they too can work their way into a OEM that utilizes the UAW and work their way through the tier system. Networking, relocation and determination will yield the results. It’s the same way I got into an OEM. It took about 7 years of effort until I reached my goal.

      To hell with popcorn, I’m trying to digest acceptance.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    ‘Investing’ more money in strikes? Good luck winning hearts and minds with that one.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      >> Good luck winning hearts and minds with that one.

      I’m sure they’re winning the hearts and minds of every Mexican citizen along with robotics companies and 3D printer manufacturers. I understand what a difficult job manufacturing is, but by striking they’re just hastening their own demise.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Good luck shaking a well-earned reputation for being lazy, overpaid, troublesome blue-collar schlunks and yahoos who’d be out on their asses in a heartbeat without a powerful union to protect them.

    I know it’s not an accurate representation of the entire membership, but reputations get started for a reason.

    The UAW is doomed. About time.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      “well-earned reputation for being lazy, overpaid, troublesome blue-collar schlunks and yahoos”

      Now that’s just an opinion that you have. There are many more hard workers than you think. A few bad apples will always seem to ruin the bushel.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        In my stint in auto manufacturing, I found that the workers cared a lot more about the quality of their work than management. A hell of a lot of them were really passionate about their work. Many of them didn’t care much for the union or management – equal contempt for both.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    It is NOT the “first increase in X years”, its rather a huge change.

    It used to be 2 hours pay/1.5% of salary. So dues actually increased all the time, as people’s salaries increased with inflation.

    THIS says that the UAW was unable to shrink their bureaucracy as the union shrunk, so the UAW needs a larger share of every workers’ paycheck, and have responded by increasing their take of workers salary.

    No wonder there was an article about the Mercedes plant in the south is “yeah, we want a union. But not the UAW”.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      This seems to be the big flaw with unions in general. As long as the union dues are a percentage of the entire salary, the union is at least as happy to add more workers as they are to increase salaries. The end result of union contracts under this scheme is hardly a surprise. I’d be far more interested in joining a union that based on some “roughly your salary without a union (Seattle min wage, perhaps)”, in that they would at least be trying to work for me, as opposed to hiring more bodies (presumably management doesn’t car either way, and can typically find some sort of use for the bodies).

      It shouldn’t be too surprising that the UAW still holds the rust belt and other dying places, although this leads to even bigger problems. Being out of work in a city that has a working auto plant means that at least some job exist if moving isn’t an option. Once the plant closes, the city dies and the standard union contract really works against them.

      The UAW also has the additional issue that any new hires (at GM, at least) have been personally thrown under the bus by the union. I can’t see them willingly coughing up more for such a raw deal.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    A show of hands? For an organization that lives in a fishbowl to enact something of this importance on a show of hands vote strains credulity. There’s a reason secret ballots were developed – they’re indicative of good governance. Even if the result didn’t change, the ability to demonstrate they did it the right way would speak volumes.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      Last year during our election up here in British Columbia, the opposition party, prompted by the unions, had the elimination of the secret ballot for union certification as part of their platform. They, straight faced, said that the secret ballot allowed for intimidation by management

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is the classic liberal response to a fleeing populace.

    City of Pittsburgh property taxes have risen as people flee to the suburbs, as have city bus rates. The city hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1933. All decaying cities use the same formula.

    People use less fuel due to CAFE compliance, so the tax authorities want to raise gas taxes.

    They think the math is simple: Divide the deficit by the consumer base, and raise the rate accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There was a time for unions a long, long time ago, in an America vastly different from today. The reason for the “fleeing populace” is because of the damage unions have inflicted on American industry and business.

      Documentaries have been made about the unproductive nature of union members in the US auto auto industry, and the shoddy workmanship of the assembled products. But the unions and their fanbase will feed us a line of sh!t too big to be called a crock.

      If employees really want a union to represent them they should organize without regard to the ramifications of their decision. But no whining if their employer bites the dust or moves production elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Hillman

      For the city bus rates, chances are they are subsided by the city so an increase in ridership may very well mean that the rates must go up. I know the handicap regulations the Feds require mean my city loses around $4-5 for each rider and the counties are refusing to pay. Our choice is to either scrap the entire bus system or increase rates on the handicap buses. Also, how cities are setup are a large reason why the property taxes become out of whack. They should be annexing the counties as the population shifts to keep taxes level but due to people wanting free lunches the cities are usually unable to annex. This leaves them with a weird tax base that pays for services for people who don’t pay direct taxes to them.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Truly a vicious spiral.

        Government increases taxes and other costs of doing business, so people leave and take their businesses with them.

        Then the government jacks up the rates again, causing more people to say, “Oh, look at the time! It’s Fuck This Shit O’Clock!” and join the exodus.

        Eventually, the area is inhabited by nothing but those too poor to leave, or too rich to care.

        Need I point to California?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      As a citizen of Pittsburgh for nearly all my life (and thankfully heading back there after my federal contract ends) you pulled out some really silly arguments to justify your position.

      Urban centers historically have lower property taxes than their surrounding suburbs. They tend to have higher taxes for services rendered because the Urban centers actually have full-service systems while suburbs usually have police and waste disposal (fire is volunteer in most cases).

      Public choice theory would have us believe that suburbs are more popular for policy reasons. When the research is done suburbs are more popular for the cheaper housing and general perception in the public’s view. There is no correlation let alone causation for ‘Republicanism’ being the issue. If anything the generally accepted answer is either to annex the wealthier suburbs so that the tax base can no longer flee OR create a fund that draws upon the wealthier citizens to pay for the poorer ones they intentionally divide from.

      But when you’re arguing that simple math is a regressive tax you mind as well be saying you think a hole in the head is a brilliant move.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Xer, could it be that you are just a wee bit biased when it comes to your own beliefs and politics?

        In MY area, the reality is that we have a lot of people who come from (mostly) the East Coast, with some also coming from the West Coast, as they cash out and move to the clear skies, open spaces, and clean air of New Mexico, West Texas, Southern Colorado and Eastern Arizona.

        These people are not just fleeing their cities and suburbs but they are also fleeing the high taxes and prohibitive cost of living there.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          HDC,
          What you are seeing isn’t politically motivated; it’s economically motivated. People in their peak earning years are attracted to high wage/high cost of living areas to maximize earnings. People with kids are attracted to high tax areas with great schools.

          Now that the kids are grown and they are nearing retirement, people look to live in low cost/low tax areas.

          Simple economics. Or maybe they just like coyotes.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vogo, They’re not all old people moving here.

            One family that moved here was a newly retired cop in his forties, with a wife and three kids.

            They bought a four-bedroom, three bath from my wife’s family — the house that I have been working on to get up to speed with floor tile, bathroom tile, etc. before they move in on the 25th when their furniture and household goods are being delivered.

            (This week I am staying home. It is 106 degrees in the shade and none of us feel much like working in this heat.)

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I never said old. Key word: retired.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            How much do you think a retired city cop makes?

            I don’t know either but he had to take out a Mortgage to buy the house, and he will be teaching Elementary school in the fall in a nearby town.

            His wife is still looking for a job and will probably get hired on at the nearby Air Base as a civil service person.

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        “If anything the generally accepted answer is either to annex the wealthier suburbs so that the tax base can no longer flee OR create a fund that draws upon the wealthier citizens to pay for the poorer ones they intentionally divide from.”

        The generally accepted answer for the hard (and increasingly desperate) Left. That is, when a corrupt, one-party, big city fails fiscally, then enlarge the failure by roping all of the surrounding suburbs into merging with the city, forming a corrupt, one-party region, that will itself soon fail.

        The generally accepted answer for the taxpaying, productive citizens of those corrupt regions is to flee the state entirely, which is why New York and Michigan and Illinois are losing billions of dollars in tax revenues.

        • 0 avatar
          Hillman

          Umm, the idea of most state charters that the cities would annex the the counties as the population expands. It is not a left right argument it is just history. Also, if the suburban population votes most of the demographics of the local government would simply reflect the new demographics.

          • 0 avatar
            Roader

            Err…yeah, hard left. Rules for Radicals left.

            The main effort to redistribute the wealth from fiscally autonomous suburbs is being made by an outfit called Building One America. Mike Kruglik is the president. Mike Kruglik was a Community Organizer in South Chicago back in the 80s & 90s, mentored by whacko-lefty Saul Alinsky. Guess who Kruglik mentored in turn? As a result, Kruglik is now a frequent guest at the White House. Whenever you hear the words “sprawl” or “urban sustainability” coming out of the White House, you can be sure it has something to do with robbing the suburbs and shoveling that money towards big city democrat administrations. You know, those cities that haven’t had a GOP administration for decades (Chicago: 1931.) The mechanism to start shoveling will be to condition future federal money transfers to states based on certain “anti-sprawl” or “sustainability” measures served up by the anti-suburban, community organizin’ Mike Kruglik. With O’s help, of course.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        When the City of Pittsburgh annexes my suburb, I’ll move. My experience living in the City was underwhelming.

        You also know that Allegheny County has had a property assessment battle going on for a decade or more. The problem is one of systematic, widespread over-assessment of properties, commonly assessed far above market value. This is not due to some accounting error or amateur assessors; it’s clearly a money grab due to falling property values.

        Rather than scale back city personnel, the inevitable answer – just as with the UAW – is to raise the tax rate. School taxes are handled the same way; somehow $12k/student isn’t cutting it.

        I point out one constant – multi-generational Democrat dominance over local politics – to suggest that perhaps a knob could be turned that hasn’t been in quite a while.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “multi-generational Democrat dominance over local politics”

          One party rule, just one of the many fun features of a totalitarian government.

          • 0 avatar
            grinchsmate

            How do you end up with a one party system.

            If the republicans keep losing why aren’t they changing their policies?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Republicans don’t really try. Occasionally third party candidates try but never seem to go anywhere. Given how corrupt things are here one would think a third party centrist candidate might have a shot, but nah.

          • 0 avatar
            grinchsmate

            Any reason they don’t try?

            Are they constrained at a state or federal level so they can’t change policies to match local wants or is local perception of Republicans so coloured that it can’t be overcome no matter what they do?

            It just seems like an incredibly strange state of affairs. All my experience of political systems is of a large barely discernible centre group that swaps power between itself. It might be no better but it does moderate any tendency to move left or right.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Republicans have a majority in the US House of Representatives.

            Of the 50 state governors, 29 are Republican.

            Republicans also control a majority of the various state Senate and House seats.

            I’m not sure how much more that you could possibly want.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I honestly couldn’t tell you. Growing up here the city limits demographically largely consist of “old school” or “blue dog” democrat type folks, yinzers of all stripes who largely identify in the first category, welfare recipients, yuppie and/or hipster jag offs, and more recently militant Marxists many of whom are not native to the region. Recently in the mayoral primary (which is effectively the election) Jack Wagner an over-the-hill 60 something “blue dog” Democrat and one time city councilman ran against the current mayor then councilman Bill Peduto who from what I understand is Marxist blowhard who likes to hang out at gay bars and drive home drunk (not kidding). While I don’t think either candidate was the right man for the job (and I did not vote in the Democratic primary) this primary is always effectively the election. Regarding the Republicans running, I think the reason they don’t try is because of the rough demographic groups I named, they won’t garner many votes out of the three largest groups, the blue dogs dems, the yinzers, and the welfare recipients. I can’t see many of those folks even behind a curtain voting for those “evil Republicans”. So the only opposition would have to come from a third party. I would love nothing more than for a third party to come through and crucify the communists in power. Libertarians, Constitutionalists, fiscally responsible people, I don’t care. Just someone come through who is not a Republican and show some facts on how screwed up things have been under one party rule. I think the reason this doesn’t happen is because the overall political system in the region is pretty much an old boys club so to speak. Even if by some miracle a third party candidate got a nod, the rest of the county could/might turn against them because they are all part of the same club. Magistrates, the county executive, the Port Authority, the city school district, Parking Authority, various unions- they would *all* be out for blood. If there were to be change in this region, somehow some of these institutions would have to be dismantled or neutralized first. Since even our “Republican” governor was unwilling to reform one of the Commonwealths most dysfunctional institutions, PennDOT, I have little hope for any other reform local to the city. (Corbett chose to raise our gas tax again to shovel more money into the black hole as opposed to reforming the dept). What will happen over time is the city (still in Act 47) will spend its way back into extreme bankruptcy, especially now S&P upgraded their bonds to A+. This still doesn’t fix the fact that many business (inc the giant UPMC) still pay no property taxes, or the fact the $512 million dollar 442nd place/500 school district is going to want more money this year.

            http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/02/03/Standard-and-Poor-s-ups-city-credit-rating/stories/201402030130

          • 0 avatar
            grinchsmate

            I’m more asking, If that is the kind of idiot people vote for why don’t the Republicans become that kind of idiot.

            I’m not saying they should or that either side is better than the other its just that in the systems I’m used to everyone converges in the middle. I wonder why it doesnt happen in this case.

            I guess its probably beyond anything I can learn from a car site but thanks for giving me some idea of what’s going on.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m more asking, If that is the kind of idiot people vote for why don’t the Republicans become that kind of idiot.”

            As I pointed out above, Republicans are already dominating several levels of government.

            Republicans are obviously controlling large political blocs — the numbers make this clear. The issue here is that we have conservatives who whine about “one party rule,” as they crave that very thing for their own party. They aren’t content with the majorities that they do have; they want it all.

          • 0 avatar
            grinchsmate

            If the Republicans dominate some systems then why don’t the Democrats move to the Republican style of idiocy in those areas.

            I really don’t care about the partisan crap, Im just perplexed as to how you can end up with one side of a two party system completely disengaged.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Im just perplexed as to how you can end up with one side of a two party system completely disengaged.”

            That isn’t happening. Why you believe that, I don’t know, but it isn’t correct.

            Some constituents are more liberal or conservative than others. The parties can’t be all things to all people, and in any case, many local governments in the US are officially non-partisan. (They may tilt one way or the other, but they don’t have a formal party affiliation.)

          • 0 avatar
            grinchsmate

            I say that because people in the thread have pointed out places haven’t changed parties since the 30’s. If thats not the case then I’ve been misled.

            Of course different areas have constituents with different wants so why don’t local politicians cater to them. In my experience the ‘right wing’ candidate in a left wing area is always further left than his party colleague in a more conservative area. If he weren’t he would never get elected. It seems like this doesn’t happen in some places and I find that interesting.

          • 0 avatar
            Roader

            “I really don’t care about the partisan crap, Im just perplexed as to how you can end up with one side of a two party system completely disengaged.”

            Graft, corruption, patronage. The party in power, over the years, becomes so powerful that the opposing party has no chance of overcoming that power.

            It’s rare, but corrupt administrations have been removed. Teddy Roosevelt fought democratic Tammany Hall in NYC -he didn’t win – and his cousin FDR actually destroyed Tammany after he was elected president.

            But Chicago? No way. Over the years the democrats have forced out the middle class leaving a perfectly reliable voting block: welfare recipients plus limousine liberals. A great graphic showing the fleeing middle class here:

            http://www.newgeography.com/content/004251-watch-chicago-s-middle-class-vanish-before-your-very-eyes

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Of course different areas have constituents with different wants so why don’t local politicians cater to them.”

            They already do that by affiliating with the more appropriate party.

  • avatar
    dash riprock

    So, higher monthly dues taken from members pay cheques to fatten up the strike fund to allow for more frequent/lengthy strikes which will lead to more frequent/lengthy periods of no pay cheques. What is not to like?

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The right wing brigade froths, news at 11!

    I have no interesting incite to provide that won’t devolve into my defense of unionism for the next six hours. So good for them for expanding dues to help sure up the strike fund. By all standards their fund is massive but being able to actually threaten a real three month strike is a powerful tool.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      This is your idea of a cooperative relationship? If the union doesn’t get what it wants, it’ll strike the employer to death!

      Wasn’t the death of GM and Chrysler enough?

      Must other employers die or move out of the US to be profitable?

      With such ideas it is no wonder that unions can only curry favor by putting their own guy in the White House. But I doubt that Hillary will put up with their sh!t. We already know Bill Clinton did not.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s hilarious, highdesertcat, that you somehow blame GM and Chrysler’s respective bankruptcies on Unions and not bloated bureaucracy and mismanagement.

      • 0 avatar
        tier2

        Cat obviously you don’t follow the industry that closely, but love throwing your two cents in. Who took the concessions when the industry was grossly mismanaged and top heavy? We did, the union workers. Who takes the heat over poorly designed ignition switches? Those lazy union workers were probably asleep at the machines, right? How dare the union workers to ask the company for the wages back after they helped them in their time of need. How dare they ask for a wage increase, when the big 3 are more profitable now then they have ever been. How did the price of cars go up at a higher rate than ever before, when the union worker is making less? Constant scapegoating the union, makes you sound uneducated and uninformed. Are you the guy who really belives that the union will walk in and say $30 per hour or strike? It’s time to bring back the true middle class, where we can enjoy a “middle out” economy, you know the economy model that has always worked 100% of the time. I guess you are still adamant about our “trickle down” situation, which hasnever worked……ever….anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…being able to actually threaten a real three month strike is a powerful tool”

      True enough. Yet many who would be unionized aren’t interested.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    If the UAW and rank and file believed in performance base pay this wouldn’t go through.

    But, I suppose the executives of large ‘free’ institutions received massive pay rises for under performing.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wow the last time dues were raised my UAW member GM working Grandfather was still above ground. He passed on in 1978.

    His wife is still collecting the widow’s benefit.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      As has been observed, dues go up every time wages increase. The difference here is that the unions are now taking a greater percentage of their members’ compensation.


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