UAW Membership Drops To Post WWII Low
For the first time since WWII, UAW membership has dropped below half a million hardhats, reports the Kansas City Star . The news comes from a Labor Department filing, which shows that the union was down to just 464,910 members by the end of 2007, compared with 538,448 at the end of 2006. This continues a trend of decline for the union since membership peaked in 1979, at 1.5m dues-paying members. Many of the losses can be tied to the dismal performance of the Detroit automakers, who have been cutting jobs, closing factories and buying out workers in hopes of returning to profitability. With American automakers tanking and taking their membership with them, the UAW is trying to rebound by targeting the North American factories of Toyota and Honda. But the transplants have carefully avoided building plants in union strongholds, and have thus far held off attempts to unionize their American factories. And no wonder. Although the UAW has done well by its members over the years, its colossal pension liabilities and uncompetitive approach to wages have been an undeniable factor in the decline of Detroit.