By Al Kinzer
At its June 2014 Convention, the UAW is set to increase its minimum membership dues to 2½ hours of pay per month. Since 1967, the UAW’s minimum membership dues have been set at 2 hours of pay per month.
The UAW’s financial woes have been coming for years. In 1979, the UAW had 1.5 million members, and now its membership is less than 500,000 and most of those members are not building cars, but are dealing cards, working in health care, and other jobs outside the auto industry.
With the UAW’s membership decline over the past three decades, the dues revenue has, of course, dropped. Over the past few years, the UAW has been dipping into its strike fund to pay for current operations.
The UAW’s financial future is tied to its current organizing campaigns at Volkswagen and Nissan. Last year, the UAW’s lame duck President, Bob King, said that if the UAW doesn’t organize these transnationals, there is no long term future for the UAW.
Without organizing success, the only viable option that may be left for the UAW is to merge with another union — the Steelworkers, perhaps? This is what happened in Canada to the UAW’s Canadian counterpart, CAW. CAW just merged into a larger union that is now called Unifor.