UAW stunned by Michigan right-to-work bills

David Barkholz

Published: December 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Public Policy

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

Asia to remain chemical giant but US shale will bring competition

July 23, 2014 1:00 pm ET

A new IHS Chemical report on global spending for chemical production predicts capacity additions will peak in 2014 at $120 billion and then will...    More

Image

DuPont quarterly sales drop, income rises

July 23, 2014 12:46 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s sales and net income experienced slight changes for the second quarter 2014, as operating earnings dropped to $1.17 per share in the...    More

OSHA probes alleged asthma link to Lear's Selma, Ala., plant

July 23, 2014 11:58 am ET

U.S. foam manufacturer Renosol Seating LLC is being investigated following allegations its workers are at risk of asthma from TDI exposure at its...    More

Image

Celanese to expand production in Brazil

July 23, 2014 11:15 am ET

Celanese Corp., the Irving, Texas-based chemicals and specialty materials company, has announced that it will expand its manufacturing capabilities...    More

Image

Contigo, Avex buy lets Newell Rubbermaid leapfrog new bottle development

July 22, 2014 4:11 pm ET

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is ready to accelerate its move into the reusable water bottle business with the purchase of two on-the-go drinkware brands.    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events