For the sixth consecutive year, the United Auto Workers’ total assets decreased. However, its expenses for their political activities and lobbying increased by almost four times compared to the previous year. These were some of the information we learned from the union’s annual financial filing dated March 29 submitted to the U.S. Labor Department.
Last year, the union posted slightly more than $1 billion in assets, a 4% drop compared to the previous year. It posted liabilities of about $7.7 million. In addition the value of the UAW's investment holdings decreased by 8.3%, or almost $65 million, to around $718 million. The union, while under the leadership of Bob King, is attempting to increase its membership at the car plants in the southern U.S.
It also hopes to expand into other areas such as gaming, healthcare and higher education. The UAW has almost 383,000 members but less than 50% of this number works in the car industry. On Thursday, the union was able to post its third consecutive year of gains in its membership. However, the dues that other industries pay are frequently lower than what’s expected in the auto industry.
Previously, the UAW paid for operations by selling assets and investments. The UAW reported a rise in annual funding in 2012 by 1% to $261 million. It experienced a 6% decrease in funding from dues. The sale of investments and assets increased by 13%. Meanwhile, cash disbursements grew by 1% to $260 million. It included almost $30 million used for political actions and lobbying during a presidential election year.
In addition, the union wrote off the value of furniture and other equipment by around $38.5 million and its Black Lake golf course in northern Michigan by $1.8 million. In 2000, the golf course was opened by the union, which had just 672,000 members back then. This was the time when the SUV flourished. Now, the golf course is valued at $5.7 million.