A prominent union official from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations wants the domestic automakers to reinstate the pay and benefits given up by United Auto Workers.
Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, issued his support to UAW employees and echoed the sentiments of departing union boss Ron Gettelfinger during the 35th annual constitutional convention. Trumka represents more than 11 million workers through the AFL-CIO and drew a rousing ovation from attendees during his speech. This year also marks the UAW's 75th anniversary.
"The three major U.S. companies are making profits again," Trumka said during a convention speech. "We salute their success, and we demand that they do right by the workers who have done right by them. Just as there has been shared sacrifice in periods of pain, there must be shared prosperity in periods of gain."
Although this wouldn't be the first time the UAW has called for restored pay, Gettelfinger remains hesitant to formally debate the issue with the automakers and insists the union save its efforts for next year's collective bargaining convention. Current UAW VP Bob King reportedly has strong endorsement from union leaders to succeed Gettelfinger.
The loss of UAW members helped the Detroit Three remain competitive on the manufacturing front but did little to help the union itself. The reduced workforce has led to smaller due collections, stressing the union's finances. The UAW headquarters currently employs around 325 people after cutting 130 through attrition and early retirement incentives. To help its finances, several sub-regional offices were recently closed and the Black Lake educational facility and golf course was put up for sale earlier this year.
"Your International executive board took the necessary steps to shore up our union financially," Gettelfinger said. "Without reducing our ability to service our membership, organize, and be involved politically and legislatively, our board cautiously considered every expenditure."