U-A-W membership grew to 400,000 people last year. That’s the largest the union has been since 2008. Kristin Dziczek is the Director of the Labor and Industry Group for the Center for Automotive Research. She says the U-A-W has been expanding for the past five years… but she’s not sure if the trend will continue.
“They represent teaching assistants, graduate students, at a number of universities. They also have a very high profile campaign to organize some of the southern automotive plants that are not yet members of the UAW.”
Dziczek says the union has experienced recent success recruiting members from higher education institutions… as well as from automotive plants in the Southern U-S.
“This is a cyclical industry, and after years and years of upticks, people who have been around for a while know that there’s a downturn coming at some point. So as long as, you know, a majority of the UAW membership is made up in the auto industry, they’re going to be subject to those cyclical changes in that industry.”
Dziczek also says at the peak of the auto industry, the U-A-W had about 650,000 members. She says the union will be renegotiating contracts with Detroit automakers this year.
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