Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



At the end of 1982 the active membership of the United Automobile Workers stood at 1.25 million workers, belonging to about 1,600 local unions in the United States and Canada. There were 1.14 million Americans and 115,000 Canadians. Women accounted for 170,000 memberships in the two countries. A fifth or more of the total may have been retired members. The UAW ranks as the largest manufacturing union, ahead of the United Steelworkers, but behind three unions representing truckers, school teachers, and retail employees. Substantially all the blue-collar workers in the domestic auto industry have been organized, the vast majority by the UAW.

In early 1983 the UAW represented approximately 300 000 employees currently on the job with General Motors in the United States. Another 25,000 were at work for GM in Canada. One-ninth or more of these would be classified as skilled workers. In addition, about 140,000 employees were on layoff. Of these about 80,000 had been out of work for more than one year and thus were considered as laid off indefinitely. This study will concentrate on the 300,000 hourly workers in about 150 major bargaining units in the United States who are covered by the parties' principal National Agreement.


Reprinted from Industrial Conflict Resolution in Market Economies: A Study of Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA. 2nd ed., edited by T. Hanami and R. Blanpain, 305-21,1989, with permission of Kluwer Law International.