UAW increases union dues, merges Region 1-C with 1-D - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

UAW increases union dues, merges Region 1-C with 1-D

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FLINT (WJRT) - (06/03/14) - UAW members across Mid-Michigan and beyond are looking at two major developments Tuesday night.

Union fees are going up and the local 1-C office is combining forces with another region.

This is the first time they've gone up in nearly 50 years, and we spoke with a worker at Flint Assembly who says it doesn't sit well with him.

"It's hard as a single income family of four," said team leader Steve Jones.

Jones is supporting his family on GM wages. His wife is a full-time student and his two boys are in elementary school. His pay check is going to take a hit with the UAW raising dues 25 percent.

"It's kind of unsettling that they want to go behind closed doors and raise the dues without giving the voice of membership," he said.

Several hundred delegates approved the increase at the thirty-sixth UAW Constitutional Convention in Detroit.

The union says its membership of just under 400,000 will pay on average about $10 more in dues. Jones says he will pay $15 more per month.

"Which doesn't seem like a lot, but it all adds up when you figure in the cuts we've had to take with the giving up holidays, some of the holiday pays," he said.

The increase is estimated to bring in about $45 million a year, and go right to the strike fund. The UAW says the money will make the union stronger and more financially sound.

Still, Jones would've liked some input in the decision.

"They have received raise in dues," he said. "Every time there's a contract passed and we receive a raise, they receive a raise."    

The increase will take effect in August.   

Another big development Tuesday is the merging of UAW Region 1-C with Region 1-D, based in Grand Rapids.

We spoke with the assistant director of Region 1-C, Steve Dawes, on the phone. He says this was voted on by the administrative caucus in November for a few reasons.

For one, he says it helps out their budget.

He also says the timing makes sense. The current 1-C director is expected to be elected to the International UAW, leaving his seat open.

He does not expect the Flint office or Memorial Park to be closed.

"That's a very unique historical part of Flint, historical part of the city of Flint and really a historical part of labor history itself," Dawes said.

Dawes is currently at the Constitutional Convention in Detroit with other union leaders. He says we should hear more details about this merger on Wednesday.
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