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

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

California lawmakers give final approval to plastic bag ban

August 30, 2014 6:00 am ET

Under the measure, single-use plastic bags will be barred from California retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores, as ...    More

Image

Optical disc molder OEM getting into micromolding with acquisition of CDA

August 29, 2014 11:24 am ET

Optical disc replicator and molder Optical Experts Manufacturing Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., has expanded its core business and entered new high...    More

Image

Poor plastic coating prompts cable recall

August 29, 2014 2:10 pm ET

Australia's competition regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has ordered a major recall of 2,485 miles of electrical ...    More

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Tighter resin prices leading to price hike for PE film

August 29, 2014 11:13 am ET

One of North America's largest film makers is pushing through a polyethylene price increase due, in part, to the tight resin market.    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events