UAW membership rises in 2017 for ninth year in a row

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UAW membership rises in 2017 for ninth year in a row

DETROIT — The United Auto Workers added new members for the ninth consecutive year in 2017 and the union remained in the black, but overall dues fell versus the previous year, according to the union’s annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.

Membership in the Detroit-based union rose more than 3.5 percent to 430,871 in 2017 from 415,963 in 2016. But union dues dipped nearly 4 percent in 2017 to $175.8 million from $182.5 million in 2016.

In August 2014, the UAW raised the share of a union member’s normal monthly pay that goes to dues for the first time since 1967.

UAW membership has crept up steadily since the end of the Great Recession, but it is around half of what it was in 1998 and well below a peak of 1.5 million members in 1979.

Detroit automakers General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler and their suppliers have slashed workforces at UAW-represented factories over the past 30 years as they have automated and lost sales to European and Asian rivals.

The union and Detroit’s automakers will negotiate a new four-year contract in 2019.

The UAW remains one of the richest labor organizations in the United States and ended 2017 with net assets of $947 million, up from $862 million a year earlier.

The union’s 2017 receipts totaled $273.6 million and its disbursements totaled $272.1 million.

Although the union added members last year, it also suffered a few notable defeats.

In November, workers at the Fuyao Glass plant in southwestern Ohio voted heavily against union representation.

And the union lost a bitterly contested vote at a Nissan plant in Mississippi in August, which extended a decades-long record of failure to organize a major automaker’s plant in the U.S. South.

Reporting by Nick Carey

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