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Will scandal cripple the UAW, or transform it? (Read More…)

Leaders face a time of reckoning
February 19, 2018 By Michael Wayland
DETROIT — The UAW’s traditional tactics of walkouts, sit-ins and strikes can’t help it fight the latest threats to its fading influence.

The union, already weakened by the proliferation of foreign auto plants in the South, low-wage competition in Mexico and decades of factory closures on its home turf, is now reeling from a haymaker delivered by its own leadership: a $4.5 million corruption scandal reigniting complaints that the UAW has gotten too cozy with company executives.

Some believe the malfeasance uncovered by federal authorities could deal a crippling blow to the union, devastating the broader American labor movement as well, following several failed attempts by the UAW to organize plants and with right-to-work laws now letting dissatisfied members in Michigan and other states opt out.

UAW dissidents see the situation — years of funneling money meant to train workers into the pockets of union and company officials instead — as an opportunity for profound change. They’re urging rank-and-file members to “take back” the union from leaders they claim are overly willing to comply with employers’ requests.

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