- Posted by Sanderson Lincoln
- On June 21, 2016
Most people in the United States have heard of the United Automobile Workers, otherwise known as the UAW, but many of them don’t know the rich and interesting history of the organization.
At Sanderson Lincoln, we want to share some of this fascinating story.
The name is actually more complicated than you might think
While it’s best known as the UAW, the actual, full name is: International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America. That’s quite a mouthful and it’s no wonder it’s generally shortened.
A very brief overview of the UAW
Before we get into the history, let’s discuss what the UAW actually is. Essentially, it’s a labor union and they represent workers in the U.S. and Canada. They were originally founded in the 1930s as part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and the UAW grew quickly in the mid-20th century. The UAW was active in both the civil rights movement and the anti-Communist movements.
The UAWs legacy
The UAW is perhaps best known for negotiating higher wages and pensions for automobile workers. Today, it’s not nearly as strong as it once was. The decline began in the 1970s when foreign-based car manufacturers started building plants in the Southern United States and those plants were not unionized. This led to a decline in membership.
Factors leading to the decline in UAW membership
While the decline coincided with new factories in the South that were resistant to unionization, there were other contributing factors. Most notably, the increase in machine work meant there wasn’t as much of a need for human labor.
Others blame the fact that many manufacturer jobs moved overseas. In an increasingly global economy, U.S. companies wanted the cheaper labor.
Statistics on today’s UAW
The UAW still exists and today it covers a wide range of workers from those who work in the automobile field, the healthcare field, educators, and casino gambling employees. The union is currently headquartered in Detroit and has just shy of 400,000 active members, more than 600,000 retired members, and has 750 local unions. These local unions work with more than 1,500 employers across the country.
Recent UAW news
One of the most recent news stories about the organization affects UAW members in Las Vegas. Local 3555 became the first ever union to win a contract on what’s known as “The Strip” in Las Vegas. Once the first contract was in place, several other casinos got union contracts as well.
At Sanderson Lincoln, we’re interested in the history of the auto industry, but we’re most passionate about selling high-quality cars in the Phoenix area. Please visit us today to check out our full line-up of new and used vehicles.