UAW delegates approve 31% pay raise for union leaders, add flexible dues structure
DETROIT -- UAW delegates on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved 31 percent salary increases for the union’s international leaders. Earlier, they approved a plan that adds flexibility to the union's dues structure.
The increases are meant to bring the international leaders more in line with other labor leaders, according to officials. The delegate introducing the motion here at the union’s 37th Constitutional Convention said leaders’ salaries have hindered the union’s ability to enter into alliances or bring other unions into the UAW.
Under the new guidelines, salaries of the UAW president, secretary-treasurer, vice presidents and members of the international executive board are now based on a percentage of the salary of international representatives, which was increased 6 percent to $111,476.15 under the resolution.
The new salaries are as follows:
- President: $200,657.07 (1.8 times the salary of international reps), up from $153,248.29
- Secretary-treasurer: $186,165.17 (1.67 times the salary of international reps), up from $142,080.87.
- Vice presidents: $180,591.36 (1.62 times the salary of international reps), up from $137,718.59.
- IEB members: $166,099.46 (1.49 times the salary of international reps), up from $126,551.13.
Most delegates supported the increases, citing the amount of work it takes to be an international officer and the gap between the UAW leaders and other trade unions, such as Teamsters President James Hoffa whose salary tops $300,000.
Dissidents voiced concerns about the size of the increase and their members not receiving such an increase. Another delegate also pointed out that every time the international representatives get a raise, it would then mean all the officers also would receive an increase regardless of job performance.
Delegates discussed the salary increases, which also included a slight increase in one of two payments based on members’ profit sharing through the next four years, for about an hour -- roughly the same amount as it took to hear support and concerns about membership dues.
Earlier in the day, UAW delegates overwhelmingly supported a modified version of a controversial dues increase from four years ago that will add new triggers that could revert the monthly payments back to previous levels.
The resolution included the ability to shift the dues based on the balance of the UAW's strike and defense fund, which receives about a third of membership dues and was the basis for the union raising dues in 2014 -- the first time it did so in nearly 50 years.
The triggers are:
- If the UAW's strike and defense fund exceeds $850 million, monthly dues for union members would decline by 20 percent to pre-2014 levels -- from the equivalent of two and a half hours of pay per month to two.
- If the fund dips below $650 million, then dues would increase back to the levels of the past four years.
The UAW's strike and defense fund was at more than more than $721 million to begin this year, according to union documents. That's up from $590 million in 2014.
Most delegates were supportive of the resolution. However, a handful of members voiced concerns that included union leaders' abilities to take money out of the account for nonstrike purposes.
Under the UAW's constitution, leaders can use up to $60 million between the union's Constitutional Conventions -- every four years -- for specific purposes or projects such as major organizing drives or other initiatives "intended to increase UAW membership, strengthen the UAW's ability to bargain effectively and/or promote the interests of the membership and working people generally."
UAW President Dennis Williams addressed such concerns by saying withdrawals during the past two four-year periods have not exceeded $43 million.
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