• Apr 2, 2010
The U.S. auto industry has been bottomed out since the fall of 2008; a fact that is reflected by the falling membership of the United Auto Workers. The Detroit Free Press reports that membership fell by 18 percent from 2008 to 2009, with current membership at 355,191 men and women. The job losses came courtesy of several plant closings around the country as domestic automakers struggled to right-size a footprint that was too big to sustain.
And the UAW isn't just losing people, the labor organization is also losing cash and political influence. The UAW lost a total of $69 million in assets in 2009, as cash reserves are now down to $1.12 billion. The UAW is spending less money in Washington as well, as the rank and file spent $9.7 million on lobbying efforts in 2009, down from $10.6 million in 2008. Even long-time union boss Ron Gettelfinger took a bit of a haircut in 2009 as his pay was cut by $1,000 to $173,069.

So is the UAW on its way to oblivion? Probably not, but the U.S. auto industry is going to have to turn around before more union dues starts pouring into UAW headquarters again.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      russia got rid of communism 30 years ago, and the united states is just getting around to it now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They did it to themselves.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Just" 355,191 members?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think a common misconception is that the cars will be cheaper without unions. But look at the cars that have gone from union-made to non-union factories. The prices of those cars has either gone up or remained the same. Really the only reason for the companies to be moving to non-union factories is to increase their profits, not to make things better for the consumer.

      I believe the UAW is sorely mismanaged.

      In the modern day unions can still provide many benefits to the company and employees. Look at the union with UPS. The UPS delivery drivers and package handlers have a tough job (70% of UPS employees quit in the first two weeks!) and the union gets them good pay, free weekends, a pension, insurance, etc.

      There have been a lot of anti-union smear campaigns in recent times and going back in history that has always been the case. Corporations hate unions and many of them spends millions of dollars a year to make sure that their business doesn't become unionized (just look up Walmart and unions).

      If you need proof of unions and companies working "properly" just take a look at Europe and their automotive industry.

      I see a lot of complaints about union workers getting paid too much for "fastening a bolt" or something like that. Why does it bother you? Is it just a sentiment of hate for another man's prosperity? In the 1950's a man could make a living wage and his wife wouldn't have to work and he could put his kids through school. And that was when the middle class tax rate was averaging 70 percent. Nowadays in the mostly union-free workforce, we are accustomed to the husband and wife both working full-time jobs, and still have an unsurmountable debt into retirement. While you are trying to keep your head above water the company you are working for is reporting record profits every quarter. You still aren't sure if you will have a job the next day because maybe you didn't meet your quota or maybe they'll hire a new guy to replace you because they don't feel like giving you that raise this year, and guess what, the company will get a tax write-off for it too.

      Maybe you have a good paying job and you don't need to worry about your retirement and you like things the way they are, but why buy into the corporations anti-union crap?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awwww, so sad. I wonder if they laid off workers are having a hard time finding another job to pay them $30/hr to put a bolt in a hole.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't forget that they live in places where $150k can still buy a pretty decent house.
        • 4 Years Ago
        $150k in Michigan will buy you the Governor's mansion. What are they up to, 25% unemployment?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Even one is too many.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ^^ Shut up FRANCIS!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sit down FRANCIS (as I also touch your stuff)!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whoo Hoo!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "2009 UAW membership fell to lowest figure since WWII"

      WOW ... Finally some FEEL GOOD news on a Friday night!
      • 4 Years Ago
      What I find odd is that all the major automakers in Japan, Germany,France, Itay and South Korea. all have unionized workers in their countries, but when they build a plant in the USA they are non union
      • 4 Years Ago
      Obama's greatest danger to America is the unionization of the federal government.
      He is also hell bent on unionization of the private sector as well.
      We will be priced out of the world market and corporations and their jobs will move offshore.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Too few people realize membership in public sector unions have been growing by leaps and bounds. How soon will it be before Congress and our military belong to a union?

        This gives a good overall picture of union membership.

        http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm
      • 4 Years Ago
      But look at all the jobs they saved.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I worked as an engineer last summer at a UAW facility. I honestly don't have as much of a problem with the highly skilled workers unionizing (good machinists, electricians, etc.) because I don't have anywhere near their skills when it comes to that trade. So, I go to them to get that stuff done, and they usually do it very, very well.

      What I do have a problem with, however, is when I get yelled at by the UAW foreman because I did the job of the person whose assigned position is to empty the trash. Sorry, guys, but as an engineer, I think that general housekeeping and cleanup is well within my capabilities.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Like when I worked at Raytheon and made missiles. The IBEW would require someone to come down and move my hand held tool box across the hall. What idiots. I mean we were only spending tax payer dollars to build the missiles. Why not hold up production so a thug can move my tool box at $15 an hour. This was in 1990. It must be $22 an hour now. The last thing I did at Raytheon was read Lee Iacocca's book while waiting for something to do. They wouldn't let me perform work outside my pay grade. A month of sitting and then layed off never to be re-hired. I spent 21 years in the Air Force performing Missile Maintenance. I found the people I worked with at Raytheon didn't even know a torque wrench required calibration.
        • 4 Years Ago
        UCJR...My dad happens to be an electrician for Ford and is of course a union member. He luckily works with bosses who don't give a crap if you empty your own trash or in the case of my dad's field, change your own light bulb on your desk (the ones in the ceiling they have to do because of liability issues). He actually remembers his first foreman yelling at some lady for changing the light bulb on her desk lamp...of course that foreman didn't last long there.

        But what cracks me up is that the little guy could care less. It's the upper management that throws a fit...I see it all the time with Teamsters I work with...it's sad really (a lot of the time, the little guy has better things to do then change a bulb in a desk lamp). I was told by a mechanic I work with not to change a brake light on one of our trucks because I could technically be fired for it...it's not listed under my job description (he didn't care, he was just making a point).
    • Load More Comments