Depending on your perspective, they’re either the main cause of the Detroit Three’s downfall, or the protector and defender of the “little guy” against corporate greed and avarice. Regardless, there’s no disputing that the United Auto Workers have had a tough time over the last several decades, with the organization’s membership going from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979 to only 376,612 in 2010. But things seem to be looking up.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the organization’s membership rose 1.1 percent in 2011, to 380,719. All of the Detroit Three automakers experienced double-digit percentage gains in 2011, with Chrysler experiencing the most dramatic gains at 26 percent, with General Motors posting a 13-percent gain, and Ford up 11 percent.
According to the Center for Automotive Research, the Detroit Three are expected to hire an additional 14,750 workers represented by the organization by 2015. This doesn’t take into account the UAW’s effort to organize foreign transplants, the most recent target being Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Despite membership being up slightly for 2011, the organization’s total assets declined slightly to $1.04 billion from $1.08 billion in 2010. Liabilities increased slightly to $7.14 million in 2011 from $4.59 million in 2010.