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UAW membership hits lowest point since Great Recession

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

"If they get one more university to sign up, then boom, they're right back in there," Wheaton said. "If they get Volkswagen to join, that'll help. I don't think it hurts their case a whole lot."

He added that the union has momentum behind it with the Detroit Three contract gains, and it has money to sustain the organization. The union ended 2023 with $1.133 billion in net assets, up 8.4% from where it stood at the end of 2022. It brought in about $87.7 million. It paid almost $152 million in strike benefits, including for the targeted "stand-up" strike against GM, Ford and Stellantis NV that lasted up to 46 days.

"I think morale is pretty high, too," Wheaton added. "That makes me more optimistic."

Fain, who took over as president at the end of March 2023 following a runoff election after being an administrative representative in the Stellantis Department, received $228,872 in 2023, including his $198,526 salary and other disbursements. His predecessor, Ray Curry, received $109,142, including a $95,860 salary.

Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock received $224,929, including a $201,628 salary. The union paid its three vice presidents as follows: Mike Booth $227,352, including a $195,690 salary; Rich Boyer $216,218, including a $196,050 salary; and Chuck Browning $214,497, including a $195,690 salary.

The impacts of a years-long corruption scandal also were reflected in the union's expenses. The UAW agreed in a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to institute a court-appointed monitor for six years. Led by New York attorney Neal Barofsky, his employer, Jennifer & Block LLP, received $5.077 million for "monitor services." Law firm Crowell & Moring LLP, which has been working with the monitor on tasks like the election, received $1.572 million.


The election vendors, Election Systems and Software LLC and Merriman River Associates LLC, also were paid $1.725 million and $1.169 million, respectively, for their work in mailing, collecting and counting the ballots for the union's runoff election early last year.

Among other legal fees was $91,649 to the primary outside law firm that has handled the union's response to the federal corruption investigation. The Detroit News reported in 2020 that the UAW had paid more than $1.9 million since 2015 to the Chicago-based law firm Cotsirilos, Tighe, Streicker, Poulos & Campbell to oversee the union's response to the investigation. The total now is roughly $3.3 million.

Additionally, Exiger LLC, which has been involved in ethics compliance, received $389,952 for legal fees.

Eisner & Dictor PC also provided legal services through the negotiations with the Detroit Three. The law firm received $484,870.

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