Are The United Auto Workers Grinding Toward an Inevitable Halt?

by | Apr 28, 2022 | Auto Manufacturing, UAW

As we recently noted, no number of watchdogs and lawsuits can stop the union corruption hits, and that reality is about to hit home for the UAW. The deep-pocketed union can’t possibly maintain that status with dwindling membership that peaked 40 years ago and fell about 6% in the past year alone. This factoid has met bizarre opposition from UAW President Ray Curry, who acknowledged the grim statistic but insisted that the union is “on solid footing” while pointing the finger at “delayed” due processing and payroll figures at the end of 2021.

Curry may be in denial, which doesn’t bode well for upcoming UAW bargaining for new agreements with GM, Ford, and Stellantis. The Detroit Three is moving toward EV horizons (and encouraged by President Biden favoring companies with unionized workforces). Still, the UAW is struggling to shed their ongoing corruption scandal and federal probe, which continues to rack up expenses for the union while they also attempt to transition to their new method of directly electing leaders.

Meanwhile, the UAW’s focus (on new recruits) certainly shifted – probably because their membership declined from a high of 1.3 million members to about 372,000 – from the auto industry to university workers and grad students. Auto plant union membership continues to decline, due to a greater market share belonging to union-free automakers like Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Tesla.

Speaking of the latter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently threw down the gauntlet and dared the UAW to attempt organizing his employees. He also swung at the UAW for “fighting for the right to embezzle money from autoworkers.” Ray Curry, for his part, responded to Musk by demanding that Tesla admit to labor violations. However, Musk countered by pointing out UAW’s many instances of fraud.

Checkmate by Musk? Perhaps, and more UAW pains on the way while Stellantis Jeep jobs in Illinois are evaporating as the company lays off workers and claims that it’s the only way to be more “sustainable” as a company.

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