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UAW Membership Posts Rare Gain

But is it more than a temporary turnaround?

by on Mar.31, 2011

A 2011 Ford Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant.

Things haven’t been going well for the United Auto Workers Union in recent years.  The maker has not only had to grant significant concessions to Detroit’s Big Three automakers, but membership has been steadily declining – the result of the Motor City’s decline as well as the impact of productivity gains.

After years of decline, however, things may be turning around.  The UAW has filed its annual report with the U.S. Labor Department, showing the first increase in membership in recent memory – though the union’s rolls remain but a fraction of their one-time peak.

The UAW’s 2010 LM-2 report shows membership increasing from 355,191 in 2009 to 376,612 in 2010.  But that’s still down by nearly half from 2001, when membership stood at 701,818.  The long-influential UAW’s rolls peaked in 1979, when it counted 1.53 million dues-paying members.

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“We are pleased that our membership increased in 2010 by 21,000,” said UAW President Bob King. “This increase is a reflection of new organizing by the UAW, the recovery of the domestic auto industry and UAW members who won a first contract during the year.  We hope to continue this growth in 2011 and beyond, as we fight to win a more fair and democratic process for workers to organize unions in the United States,” he said.

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UAW Membership at Lowest Level Since WWII

Declining membership complicated by financial problems.

by on Mar.31, 2010

Bob King, the incoming president of the UAW, will inherit a union that is now less than a quarter of its size 31 years ago.

Membership in the increasingly troubled United Auto Workers Union has dropped to its lowest level since the end of World War II, even as the union struggles to deal with worsening financial problems.

The UAW lost some 76,000 members just between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010, according to reports filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.

The union finished fiscal 2009 with 355,000 active members, the union report said, less than a quarter of the 1979 peak, when the UAW’s dues-paying ranks topped 1.5 million.

The decline in membership is only part of the Detroit-based labor organization’s problems.  It ran $2 million over budget, last year.  Meanwhile, disgruntled UAW members recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards, charging top union officials with using their offices to give friends and family members jobs.

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