FILE – In this July 31, 2012, file photo, an employee works on a Passat sedan at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. As of Feb. 22, 2014, the United Auto Workers’ main source of income is down sharply and its ranks are a fraction of what they were just six years ago. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, File)
DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers’ membership and dues are down sharply from just six years ago. In another sign of weakness, the union suffered a stunning defeat this month when it tried to organize a Tennessee factory run by labor-friendly Volkswagen.
The rejection, by a close vote, was a major setback in the union’s effort to expand in the South, where non-union, foreign companies such as VW, Nissan and Hyundai are rapidly growing.
But instead of relief, Detroit’s three automakers — Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — are increasingly anxious about the 78-year old union’s future.
For them, it’s a “devil you know” situation. They worry that the 382,000-member UAW could be absorbed by a more hostile union. Such a merger could disrupt a decade of labor-management peace that has helped America’s auto Login to read more