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Despite COVID-19 and scandal, UAW income and strike fund grow with steady membership

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

The union was among the first in the nation to cut travel and meetings as a safety precaution, he said.

Auditors are finalizing dollar totals for the annual federal disclosures. The Free Press has learned that the UAW will report this information, and more will become public later this week. Upcoming filings will include the cost of Department of Justice settlements and legal fees and other expenses.

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry said use of technology helped the UAW strengthen its finances in 2020.

"In a very challenging year, we were able to be creative in saving on costs including travel and meetings by utilizing technology and took advantage of solid investments that performed exceedingly well," he said. "The bottom line is that the UAW ended the year balanced with modest growth and the strike fund continued to grow at a healthy pace."

Curry noted that the UAW has "new stringent internal and external auditing" that should reassure members that the organization is on solid footing.

Data will soon be made public by the Department of Labor, and it is expected to reflect lower numbers than currently exist for the union, Gamble said.

 

"We believe actual membership is higher when you account for members who were still sidelined during the pandemic in December and the timing of payroll and dues remitted by our local unions around the holiday shutdown," he said.

The UAW has worked to diversify its membership to include people outside the auto industry, which helped fuel the strike fund during a battle with General Motors in 2019.

Membership numbers had already begun climbing as early as January, Rothenberg said.

While workers acknowledged high-profile UAW efforts to monitor worker safety and collaborate with companies on workplace safety protocols during COVID-19, 2020 was also a year the UAW reached a deal with the federal government involving a corruption scandal that has plagued the organization involving its two past presidents and a dozen others.

Stellantis pleaded guilty to its role in the long-running investigation in January. That same month, a federal judge approved a deal with the UAW to reform the union.

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