Poor Bob King.
Perhaps no other union leader presides over an organization in such stark decline as the United Auto Workers (UAW). At its peak in 1979, the UAW boasted a membership of 1.5 million. Today, by its own admission, a mere 390,000. And Michigan’s newly passed right-to-work law will almost certainly make it harder for the union to both retain existing members and recruit new ones in the very heart of UAW nation.
The dire demography explains why the UAW is desperate to organize in the so-called “transnational” automakers – foreign companies whose manufacturing plants are largely scattered throughout the low-tax, low-regulation – and less-unionized — southern states. King is not shy about admitting as much:
We’ve got very aggressive campaigns going on at the transnationals. We know that’s key long-term to the success of our membership and the long-term security of our membership.
The latest chapter in this long and ignoble tale: King is accusing Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi, management of threatening staff with dismissal if they dare let the UAW in their shop.