UAW: Marick Masters offers expert commentary in Free Press
The UAW is choosing its probable new leadership team this week in the wake of several devastating blows that include an expanding corruption scandal, failed attempts to organize Southern auto assembly plants and a shrinking number of manufacturing jobs that are its base. The union represents college instructors in California, Michigan, Minnesota and New York; poker dealers in Las Vegas, Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Mashantucket, Conn.; workers at Miller, Coors Beer, Bacardi Rum, John Deere and Caterpillar. Analysts wonder whether a diversified membership dilutes UAW bargaining strength for its 59,000 Ford workers, 49,500 General Motors workers and 41,000 Fiat Chrysler workers and 102,000 members at auto suppliers. But auto manufacturing jobs continue to shrink as companies add automation and shift passenger car production outside the U.S. Asian and European automakers and suppliers, which employ more than half the autoworkers in this country, have kept unions out of U.S. plants. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University, said diversifying into gaming and higher education can only take the UAW so far. Somehow, it must demonstrate continued relevance in the manufacturing sector. “They need to make some major strides organizing within the industry,” Masters said.