UAW to layoff 58 workers

The UAW is laying off about 58 staff workers who belong to a separate union to help balance a budget that has been squeezed by membership losses in recent years.

The layoffs are the result of an August agreement that provided buyout offers to the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents about 260 UAW employees.

A total of 100 members of the OPEIU who work at the UAW will be laid off or accept a voluntary buyout package.

"Following the nation's economic collapse, the UAW lost an unprecedented number of members," UAW President Bob King said in a statement.

The UAW has seen its membership decline from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979 to 376,612 members in 2010. But that represented a gain of 6% from 2009. Membership may be higher by the end of 2011 because of hiring this year.

"The UAW has drastically reduced the number of staff on payroll, cut the benefits and pay of its staff, cut post-retiree health care benefits, among other measures," King said.

The UAW hoped enough workers would accept the buyout offer to prevent any layoffs.

"Since the number of OPEIU reduced did not match the goal, layoffs are necessary," King said in the statement.

Audrey McKenna, vice president of OPEIU Local 494, said she believes the UAW is spending money in other areas that could be used to retain clerical and janitorial staff.

"You know that your bosses know better because they have fought corporations that have pulled anti-union stuff," McKenna said. "You really don't expect that from a union employer."

Source: Detroit Free Press