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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The UAW isn’t dead despite Chattanooga loss -- Today’s unions are transforming and will adapt to survive -- By Terrence Scanlon, The Washington Times

Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times (Illustration by Linas Garsys, The Washington Times)

After their recent defeat at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, is it over for the United Auto Workers? Don't be too sure.

Yes, the union's loss of a unionization vote at VW's Passat plant in Tennessee produced much bad publicity, given that conditions were ideal for the UAW — the company wanted the union to win. Many observers claim the defeat is a turning point that marks inevitable decline.

However, the turning point may not spell decline, but only transformation. Yes, the portion of UAW's membership coming from the auto industry will likely shrink, and over time the union may become unrecognizable to those familiar only with its current form.

The UAW's future may lie in fields far from those in its name — fields where employers are particularly vulnerable to political pressure, such as casinos, colleges and health care, and among recipients of government assistance.

As George Will observes, the U.S. auto industry is actually two industries, "the UAW-organized one" that was desperate for a government bailout in 2009, and "the other industry, located in the South and elsewhere," where American workers make 30 percent of the vehicles Americans purchase, which "did not need rescuing because it does not have UAW presence."

Between 2006 and 2012, the UAW lost 30 percent of its members and 40 percent of its dues. That mirrors the decline of unions in general, which have lost 80 percent of their share of private-sector workers since the 1950s.

Today, about half of union members are government employees, a sector where unions were almost nonexistent in the 1950s.

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