Shocking: UAW Members Will Have To Pay For Their Own Divorce

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

My divorce cost me some $50,000 in legal fees alone – not to mention the true price of my freedom. If I would have been an UAW worker, my employer would have picked up the legal bill. For decades, UAW workers enjoyed free legal services, courtesy of the employer funded UAW Legal Services plan. If workers agree to the labor contract hashed out with GM, they better get a divorce quick, because the legal freebies will be phased out in 2014.

Ford and Chrysler workers also better settle their domestic issues in a hurry, because “UAW President Bob King has said he expects to use the agreement reached with GM as a framework for all three companies,” reports the Detroit News.

According to the paper, the legal service program employs about 200 attorneys. Its 65 offices in 20 states handle about 160,000 cases each year.’,

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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7 of 36 comments
  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Sep 24, 2011

    My divorce was in the great state of New York, which still clings to the principle of fault in divorces. That, and a Hamptons waterfront can keep lawyers busy for a great deal of hours. ...

    • UnclePete UnclePete on Sep 25, 2011

      Oh. Yeah, that can do it. (I grew up on "the Island", so I understand!)

  • Bunkie Bunkie on Sep 25, 2011

    I'm not a UAW member. Yet the last two companies I worked for offered legal services as an employee benefit. Nothing to see here...

  • Faygo Faygo on Sep 25, 2011

    is Bertel (or Ed) going to address the fact that the plan isn't as he represented it in the original piece ? I have nothing but contempt for the way the UAW and the Detroit Three have set up things in prior (and likely future) contracts but this piece is headline grabbing sensationalism without proper research into what's offered in the plan. not close to "the truth".

    • See 1 previous
    • Faygo Faygo on Sep 26, 2011

      @mikey don't get me wrong, I _work_ for one of the Detroit Three :-) I totally understand why the UAW (and unions in general) were and continue to be important in many industries, but the way the UAW and the companies have let things get over the years doesn't do either side much good. unions are sooooo easy to demonize that they become a punching bag for everyone. however, my point here being that the facts behind the program Bertel is skewering here appear to be much different than he made them out to be, so my issue is more with sloppy journalism than the content involved.

  • Mikey Mikey on Sep 26, 2011

    @faygo...I hear ya. As a former UAW/CAW member, I do agree with you, to a point. As far as the Legal plan goes. I couldn't care less if we lose it. I've paid more in taxes,than I ever recieved in benifits. was sloppy journalism, but at TTAC its the exception not the rule.