For the first time in over 40 years, members of the UAW will be paying higher union dues. The passing of the controversial measure will see employees pay the equivalent of an extra half hour of pay each month ($7 to $14, depending on wage level), in addition to the two-hours-per-month rate that's been in place since 1967.

Faced with a decrease in membership and an utter inability to unionize workforces in the southern, foreign-owned factories of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota, the UAW has been running an operating deficit of $30 to $40 million for the past few years. To balance the budget, it's been borrowing from the union's strike fund, siphoning out $25 million each year from an estimated total that sat around $930 million in 2006. It's now valued below $630 million.

The passing of this increase will give the union an extra $49 million to play with each year, which supporters claim would be used to end the annual transfer and shore up the dwindling strike fund. That, in turn, is key to the union's bargaining power as negotiations with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler approach.

It wasn't an easy decision, though, with plenty of dissenting opinions.

"I don't think it is the time," said Rich Boyer of UAW Local 140 to MLive. "This membership is divided. If we increase these dues now and don't go to the bargaining table and get significant increases in wages, we are in trouble."

Still, it's a move that's been a long time coming, according to the measure's proponents.

"The UAW is the only organized union that has not been raised in almost 50 years," said UAW Local 140's president, Mark Dickow to MLive. "It's about time."


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  • 30 Comments
      Rr778
      • 1 Year Ago
      Brandon could you do us all a favor and report the average salary at us union vs non union oem factorys in the US? It would give much needed perspective to outsiders to the debate. It would provide better context.
        montoym
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rr778
        Since the near collapse of the Big 3, the UAW wages have been nearly identical to their non-union counterparts. The bargaining they did at that time reduced many of the wages in an effort to cut costs and was essentially a last-ditch effort to save their jobs. Had they not gone along with it, they might have "bargained" themselves right out of a job. However, just as the quote from a worker included above shows, they'll still continue to fight for ever higher wages at the expense of being competitive in the industry.
      PTC DAWG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Increase the strike fund. Isn't that special!
      Bill
      • 1 Year Ago
      But the union leadership is living just fine.
      TelegramSam
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only 600 some million? Sheldon Adelson could outspend the whole lot of them?
      justgoawaymad
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ah i see. A direct funnel to the democrat party coufers. The rich get richer...oops I mean the union bosses get richer.
      WHO
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Democrats need that 49 million this coming election cycle! Need it badly.
      eye.surgeon
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The passing of this increase will give the union an extra $49 million to play with each year, which s̶u̶p̶p̶o̶r̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶c̶l̶a̶i̶m̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶u̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶n̶u̶a̶l̶ ̶t̶r̶a̶n̶s̶f̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶s̶h̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶u̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶d̶w̶i̶n̶d̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶f̶u̶n̶d̶.̶ will be used to buy more democrat politicians who will then do the bidding of the union " fixed it for you.
      CityLife
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess I just don't understand the benefit of being unionized. The union promises if you give them money, they will in return give you an above average wage/benefits for your industry. But now the twist is, the union wants/is getting more money from you, for the same amount of wages/benefits your earning. How does this make any sense???
        TrueDat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CityLife
        short answer: benefits and retirement.. while his salary is right around $75,000, his total compensation is over $100,000. unions were once a necessity in the manufacturing industry. before unions, workers were treated like dirt. but today, they are becoming less and less relevant. my father in law is UAW. my brother is non-union and works for a university doing research. equal salaries, similar benefits.. i doubt we will still have unions in come 2050.
        John Hughan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CityLife
        Did you not read the article? They're counting on this move to help give them increased power at the bargaining table precisely in order to GET those higher wages, and the article calls out that if that strategy fails, they'll have a bit of a problem.
          ChrisH
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hughan
          they will simply negotiate passing these costs onto the employers like what is happening with hotels in los vegas currently.
          John Hughan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John Hughan
          I agree. And wow, my original comment got downvoted? I never said I thought it was a smart strategy (never mind how I feel about unions in general); I was just pointing out their own rationale....
      engr00
      • 1 Year Ago
      what a joke, when will this organization just go away and die off. ugh
      Zaki
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unable to rob more money from the companies the Union usually hounds, they turn to mug the very people they are supposed to represent! This will give us more bargaining power, they say! Yeah, right that's the ticket ;) How much of this will go to the Mafia ...er.. Union godfathers?!!
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the title of this article is misleading. Dues have been increasing as wages increased this whole time. Had the UAW set a fixed dollar amount for member dues in '67, then sure, they could be increasing that amount today and it would be an actual increase. But '2 hours of wages per month' naturally increases with inflation/wage increases. This is the same thing that government does when they claim a smaller increase is a 'spending cut'. Or when someone (likely your wife) claims to have saved money by buying something on sale she would not have purchased were it not on sale. Pure nonsense to people who actually budget their money.
      wrestleprocbt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Now everybody, we shouldn't be harping and attacking the great UAW's. Remember, many of these people are the "New" GM, not that awful old GM. And all these great underpaid , underbenefited, undervacationed workers are the ones setting great new records at these plants. Record numbers of recalls with their crappy work that is.
        superlightv12
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wrestleprocbt
        I'm sure it has nothing to do with poor design, supplier quality, managements decisions to use less expensive ignition switches, etc., etc., etc. It's always about the workers. Does anyone REALLY believe that if they paid the workers $9 hour that the company would make better products? Does anyone really believe that offering cost cutting financial incentives (bonuses) to management MIGHT make them more willing to pass inferior products and NOT fix problems?
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