UAW Puts Black Lake Retreat Up For Sale

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The Detroit News reports that the UAW has put its infamous Black Lake retreat on the market, as the “symbol of the union’s success” has become a financial liability. The money-losing retreat and golf resort became a symbol of UAW profligacy during last year’s lead-up to the auto industry bailout. Even within the union, the club had become seen as a white elephant, sucking down an estimated $23m over the last five years, while being kept alive on interest from the union’s strike fund. All during a period in which UAW membership has declined and the union has been forced into concessions. With the UAW’s financial solvency dependent on GM and Chrysler IPOs, perks like Black Lake had to go. The UAW has not yet publicized an asking price.

Join the conversation
4 of 18 comments
  • 50merc 50merc on Jan 15, 2010

    Mikey is right. Black Lake is nobody's business except the UAW. It is financed by UAW money, and member dues come out of their paychecks. GM wouldn't be a dime better off even if union dues were zero. This isn't to say that owning and operating a resort was or is a good idea for a labor union. Almost certainly not--but all organizations get to indulging themselves when times are good. My ire at taxpayer-subsidized GM and Chrysler is that I'm sure management is still indulging in all sorts of egregious perks. A friend of my wife back in high school went to work for GM (Oldsmobile) and she got in on some of the bennies. One of the most coveted was getting in on the company's annual week-long junket for the Indy 500 -- basically just one long, huge party. Did that sell any cars? I doubt it. Let me run GM (GMAC, Chrysler, etc.), and the top executives will no longer even have an executive washroom, let alone a private dining facility. Let 'em bring sack lunches from home until they can become self-supporting.

  • Product of Presque Isle Product of Presque Isle on Jan 16, 2010

    As a resident of the area and someone who has extensive knowledge about Black Lake let me set some things straight. The UAW's Black Lake property was purchased in 1966 from a local who did very well in advertising named Lou Maxon. He used it as a buisiness retreat for his add agency. The Uaw then added lodging and education facilities.It was Walter Reuther's vision that families would spend time there. He had this idea because he saw how fellow union leaders were often divorced and there work life was hard on family life.Calling it a luxury resort is misleading. It has beautiful architecture but rooms are very basic and guests are roomed double. Two strangers in each room.There were no TV's in the rooms until the mid 1990s. You cannot park anywhere near your room and meals are cafeteria style. Golf is not included in anyones stay they must pay extra for this. The guests local unions are charged for thier stay. If guests do not attend classes for 8 hrs each day they are asked to leave. It is really a coference center not a resort. The rooms would get a AAA 2 star rating at best. The golf course was not repossesd from anyone it was built for the UAW in the late 1990's with the idea that it would boost attendance at the center and draw non-members to the facility . Lessening the cost to UAW members. As a previous poster stated it is paid for with UAW members dues money,not auto bailout money. It is not owned by the D3. The UAW just happens to represent workers who work fo the D3

  • RNader RNader on Jan 16, 2010
    "paid for with UAW members dues money" What a monumental waste of union dues money! Civil rights and diversity training for the whole family,, lol.....Some real value added education there eh? Maybe diet/nutrition education and mandatory gym time to burn off all those giant guts I watched in the promo video! lol Nero fiddles while Rome burns............
  • Product of Presque Isle Product of Presque Isle on Jan 17, 2010

    I'm not saying it is a good use of dues money. Just the fact that that is what it is "dues money" not tax dollars,not bailout money,not big three money. Its also not really posh or luxury. Its beautiful architecture built in a beautiful part of the state that doesn't make it posh.