Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Stress testing the UAW

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By Deepa Seetharaman

Today’s special report from Detroit, “Crunch time for America’s richest union,” takes a close look at the finances of the historic United Auto Workers union.

Over its 76 years, the UAW has built up a more than $1 billion war chest that has proven to be its big stick at the negotiating table and on the political stage.

Most of the UAW’s wealth sits in its strike fund, which stood at $763 million at end 2010. That money can only be used to fund strikes unless UAW representatives approve a change to the constitution, a step possible every four years.

The sheer size of the strike fund hides the weakening of the UAW’s finances, particularly since 2007, a period when the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed and membership fell by about a fifth.

Somebody’s been making money on Ford

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Here’s a line from our special report on Ford from Detroit today, by Bernie Woodall and Kevin Krolicki, who spent some quality time with Bill Ford earlier this week.

A $100,000 investment in the company’s stock at the bottom in late 2008 — when its cross-town rivals GM and Chrysler were nearing government bailouts — would be worth $1.8 million today.