UAW stunned by Michigan right-to-work bills

David Barkholz

Published: December 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy Automotive
Companies & Associations

DETROIT (Dec. 10, 11:15 a.m. ET) — United Auto Works President Bob King got an early lump of coal in his Christmas stocking from Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder last week when Snyder agreed to support right-to-work legislation.

The governor’s about-face on the issue — he had earlier pledged to steer away from that fight — will damage the UAW inside and outside Michigan, said Dave Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Under right-to-work legislation, employees cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues. Cole said UAW dues at the Detroit 3 are equivalent to two hours of wages per month, or about $600 per member per year.

Twenty-three states, mostly in the South, have right-to-work laws.

Cole said the UAW will lose credibility with auto workers it is trying to organize in the South.

Moreover, many of the nearly 120,000 hourly auto workers nationally represented by the UAW live and work in Michigan, Cole said. He estimated that up to 40 percent of those Michigan auto workers may choose to leave the union or not join.

“This is really a shot in the gut to the union,” Cole said.

But Art Schwartz, a labor consultant and former General Motors labor negotiator, said that few UAW members at GM plants in right-to-work states opt out of the union. He said the workers appreciate the union’s role in negotiating good pay and benefits.

The UAW did not return phone and e-mail messages Friday.

The Michigan Senate and House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, have passed right-to-work bills. Snyder said he would sign the legislation if it hits his desk before year end. It could become effective as early as March.

Detroit labor attorney Adam Forman said the one consolation for the UAW is that Michigan’s constitution prohibits a statute from abrogating an existing labor contract. So Detroit 3 hourly workers can’t opt out of the union until the UAW’s contracts with the automakers expire in 2015.

That will give Michigan union leaders time to elect new legislators and maybe a new governor willing to roll back right to work, said Forman, a principal at Miller Canfield. The UAW also is expected to mount a legal challenge to the legislation.


Comments

UAW stunned by Michigan right-to-work bills

David Barkholz

Published: December 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Polymer Additives, Lubrizol expansions win tax incentives

March 31, 2015 10:22 am ET

Proposed expansions by Polymer Additives Inc. in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Lubrizol Corp. in Lake County, Ohio, were among 12 projects statewide...    More

Image

Nanotechnology isn't science fantasy

March 30, 2015 12:15 pm ET

ORLANDO, FLA. — Nanotechnology is fast moving from the world of science fiction to science fact, with developments and...    More

Image

Mucell adds polypropylene parts to its potential resin applications

March 30, 2015 11:59 am ET

Structural polypropylene applications are now candidates for the use of Mucell microcellular foaming technology.    More

Image

Sipospack to build new flexible packaging plant in Hungary

March 30, 2015 9:38 am ET

Hungarian flexible packaging producer Sipospack Kft. is investing nearly 3 million euros ($3.2 million) in an expansion at a new site at Sóskút in...    More

Image

Getting a real feel for how 'vinyl saves lives'

March 27, 2015 6:00 am ET

While I'm certainly not shipping off to Africa anytime soon, I got a taste of what medical professionals go through in the fight against Ebola and oth...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events