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]