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Struggling for Cash, the UAW May Raise Dues for 1st Time Since 1967

Membership down by nearly 75%.

by on Dec.03, 2013

The UAW is considering raising its membership dues for the first time since 1967.

Its membership tumbling sharply and a long-running effort to organize foreign-owned makers still in limbo, the United Auto Workers Union is looking at the possibility of raising its dues by 25% – for the first time since 1967.

While still considered the richest of America’s unions, the UAW has faced increasing troubled in recent years, with membership declining, organizing efforts stalling and rising costs forcing it to slash expenses. Despite an estimated $1 billion in assets, there have been ongoing concerns about the UAW’s long-term viability, as well as its political clout.

Union News!

According to a report from the Reuter’s news service, the Detroit-based autoworkers union would like to raise dues by as much as 25%. For the average worker, that would amount to paying the equivalent of 2.5 hours wages per month, up from the current 2 hours. Dues vary depending upon pay grade, however, so if the increase is approved, a veteran line worker at one of the Detroit Big Three would pay about $70.32 a month, while a recently hired employee on a second-tier pay scale would shell out around $39.45. (more…)

King to be King, er, President of UAW

Gettelfinger’s top lieutenant gets nod as new head.

by on Dec.16, 2009

Bob King, Vice President, UAW Ford Department

The defeat of proposed contract changes by Ford workers this fall was blamed on mixed messages from boastful Ford executives.

After a secretive conclave in Detroit, Bob King, a well-known figure around the Detroit Three auto industry has secured the nod of a majority of the executive board of  United Auto Workers union during a member’s only caucus to become the next president.

King, 63, has served as current president Ron Gettelfinger’s top lieutenant in recent years. He also has handled several rounds of delicate negotiations with the Ford Motor Company as the union navigated the big downturn in the U.S. auto industry and the big concessions demanded from the union.

Harley Shaiken, a University of California-Berkley labor expert, said King had emerged as the logical choice to succeed Gettlefinger.

The defeat of a series of proposed contract changes by Ford workers this fall was blamed on the mixed messages flowing from Ford executives rather than King’s handling of the contract proposals. Ford executives were touting the company’s comeback at the same time they were demanding new concessions from workers. Not surprisingly, union dissidents successfully exploited the fact the company appeared to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth.

Gettlefinger won’t officially relinquish the union’s presidency at the UAW’s next convention in June, but King is expected to play a more active role as a union spokesperson.

Critics maintain that the union has been too passive in public relations matters as the American middle class continues to be decimated as job losses grow during the ongoing Great Recession, the longest and deepest in post-war history.

Politics!

Politics!

King’s nomination by the “Administration Caucus” also underscored the relatively secretive process by which the union selects its top officers.

(more…)