By on June 2, 2014


This week, the United Auto Workers will select a new president to take up where outgoing president Bob King will be leaving behind in the wake of a crushing loss in Tennessee, low but growing membership rolls, and dwindling budgets.

The Detroit News reports that the 1,100 delegates meeting at Cobo Hall in Detroit for the 36th UAW Constitutional Convention will likely choose union secretary-treasurer Dennis Williams as the UAW’s new president, which would make him the first president not to have worked in an automotive factory if chosen.

Whomever the president will be, they will inherit the work King has put into protecting the union while fighting to expand its presence in the United States, particularly in Southern states such as Tennessee and Mississippi. Though membership is nowhere near the peak of 1.5 million in 1979, the outgoing president boosted current rolls 11 percent to 391,415 during his four-year term through recruiting workers in auto supply, gambling and higher education. King also focused on bringing more jobs and capital investments to the auto industry as a whole, shoring up the future for the next president.

In the present, the UAW will also vote on whether to increase dues for the first time since 1967 to 2.5 hours per month to help replenish the union’s strike fund, currently holding at $630 million from a peak of $930 million in 2006. The members will also face a battle at the ballot box in November as many pro-union Congressional legislators are up for re-election, and may need to join up with social justice activists on a global scale to show those casting a dim eye that the UAW is more than an industry-focused organization.

As for King, who has been in a leadership role with the union since the early 1980s, he plans to remain active in the labor movement, though has no current post-UAW plans at this time.

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10 Comments on “UAW Prepares To Choose New President Ahead Of Internal, External Challenges...”

  • avatar

    This should be good…

  • avatar

    10 billion dollars. Straight from the US taxpayer into the UAW pension fund. Well done boys. Crime of the century.

  • avatar

    Once again, Cameron, I have to commend you for not writing something intentionally inflammatory. You seem to be able to hold the ship right when discussing unions.

    In general the UAW has to accept that being a conservative AFL style union just isn’t working in today’s world. The corporate right has consolidated its efforts and unions as they have developed outside of the US are powerful left-wing identities. Accepting that role is the only way forward, especially considering their strike fund is actually rather hefty and capable still. They’ve historically been a rich union which has allowed them to remain conservative but the world is changing, the powerful are out in full force to stop unionization and the generational battle is turning away from them and towards the unions.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “the powerful are out in full force to stop unionization” – This may be true, but it seems like many workers are also choosing not to be represented.

    “the generational battle is turning away from them and towards the unions” – Sounds a bit like a line from a rally speech. What do you mean by this, and what evidence is there of it?

    • 0 avatar

      In the late 5 years we’ve had open discussions about unionization, the public sector unions have grown slightly, service unions have grown dramatically, and the medical industry unions have grown.

      In general the new younger generational left is pro-union more than they had been in the 1990s and frankly the 1980-2008 Republican/Conservative narrative is dead. It is holding steady within their enclaves but it is withering within the general population. I understand you yourself are close to my age and a right-winger (or atleast center-right). So disagree if you must but the evidence is out there.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I would really like to see the demise of the UAW. How much money is used by the workers and taxpayers to support a group of individuals who’s only aim is to destroy US industry.

    Another example of wasted resources in the US when it can afford it.

    The UAW should move to another country, ie, China or Russia. The Chinese and Russians support most of the UAWs ideals.

    It was only a couple of decades ago that many Union officials globally went to Russian ‘Union Schools’ to learn how to be a good Socialist.

  • avatar

    What are the reasons to have a union represent workers anymore? I’m not intending snark – I just don’t understand why unions are wanted or by some folks’ characterizations, needed.

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