December 6, 2023


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UAW membership is down and half of the members are not in the auto business : NPR

4 min read

The United Automobile Workers union once experienced 1.5 million associates. Today, the UAW is down to 380,000 associates, and they are in a huge array of industries. Extra than a quarter get the job done in bigger education and learning.


The strike against 3 massive automakers is in its fifth week


Unidentified Group #1: (Chanting) UAW, UAW, UAW.

MARTÍNEZ: Their union, the United Car Staff, when experienced 1.5 million members. Currently, they can depend hardly a fourth of that range and 50 % are not in the vehicle small business. Here is NPR’s Andrea Hsu.

ANDREA HSU, BYLINE: On a latest Saturday, a group marched in the rain outside the house a Stellantis facility in Tappan, N.Y.


Unknown Person #1: No contract.

Unidentified Team #2: No peace.

HSU: Joining the striking autoworkers ended up other UAW users, including…

ANDREA JOSEPH: Andrea Joseph. I am a postdoc fellow at Mount Sinai University of Medicine.

HSU: A postdoc who’s learning being pregnant. It’s really her next go round as a UAW member. As a grad college student at the University of Washington, she took part in a strike that led to annually raises and superior wellness care.

JOSEPH: Which, as a grad college student, have been huge for me.

HSU: She’s now on the bargaining committee at Mount Sinai, pushing for all that and extra in a first deal. On the picket line, she observed she essentially experienced a large amount to speak about with the Stellantis personnel. And she’s intently watching the tactic the UAW has deployed from the large 3 as she thinks about their have strike tactic, if it comes to that.

JOSEPH: We are counting on our siblings in the automobile business to appear and be a part of us on the picket strains.

HSU: When the UAW was started in Detroit in 1935, the A did stand for auto. As the union grew in dimension and may well, that broadened to include plane, aerospace and agricultural implements. These days, it may as perfectly include things like academia, since around 100,000 of its 380,000 associates operate in bigger schooling. They are clerical staff, educating and research assistants, adjunct professors, and…


Unknown Individual #2: Who are we?

Unknown Team #3: The postdocs.

Unknown Human being #2: Who are we?

Unknown Group #3: The postdocs.

Unknown Person #2: Who are we?

HSU: These were postdocs rallying at Columbia University the other 7 days. From Maine to Alaska, the UAW has been active organizing on campuses. The College of California process now has 48,000 UAW members, as several as GM. They’re mainly youthful persons infusing new power into an outdated union.

JOSEPH: Which is also extremely neat to get to adhere to in that legacy.

HSU: Eliana Buenrostro, a Ph.D. university student and teaching assistant in ethnic experiments at UC Riverside, is aware of there’s power in figures. UC grad university student staff went on strike last slide and received 46% raises in excess of two a long time. Now she’s happy that a portion of her union dues are going into the strike fund that’s keeping hanging autoworkers afloat.

ELIANA BUENROSTRO: It can be quite impactful to know that, like, me getting a member is contributing to employees getting ready to exercising their legal rights.

HSU: Beyond academia, the UAW also signifies a large array of other folks – on line casino dealers, reproductive legal rights advocates, community defenders and in downtown Detroit, personnel at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, who’ve been on strike for extra than a thirty day period.


Unidentified Individual #3: You should not get sick tonight.

Unknown Team #4: Blue Cross is on strike.

HSU: Andrea Kirby has been with Blue Cross Blue Shield and with the UAW for 21 decades.

ANDREA KIRBY: Their battle is our struggle. All the staff more than there attempting to make a residing, offer for their family members, that should not be a aspiration.

HSU: For all of its expansion in other directions, the UAW is nonetheless intent on rising back again the vehicle portion of its membership. Jim Cooper (ph), who builds Jeeps in Toledo, Ohio, is hopeful that a significant gain for the union now could change the minds of personnel in non-union automobile vegetation like these in the South.

JIM COOPER: I imagine if they can search and see that the union really bought a significant acquire – bought cost of living again, improved 401(k)s or pension – I imagine that that would be a image that you will find a purpose for the South to unionize – or even Tesla. Personally, that’s what I want.

HSU: And now could be the union’s very best shot.

Andrea Hsu, NPR News.


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