Trouble at Black Lake: The UAW's property exposure

As membership and dues fell, UAW opened a golf course

For four decades, the UAW has maintained a sprawling property in northern Michigan as a shrine to the ambitions of the union’s founder, Walter Reuther.

Despite a three-decade decline in membership, the UAW kept up and expanded the site. It opened an 18-hole golf course during the SUV boom in 2000.

Over the past decade, the UAW has also been forced to provide about $39 million in loans to the Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center and Black Lake Golf Course, known collectively as Black Lake, to keep them open.

The bulk of those loans were extended from 2007 to 2010, when the union made steep concessions in wages and benefits to the U.S. automakers, records filed with the U.S. Labor Department show.

Still, the UAW hopes to boost revenue by marketing Black Lake as a tourist destination and meeting spot for schools and other unions.

But the clock is ticking. Black Lake is one of the biggest drains on a UAW balance sheet already weakened by tumbling property values and a shift of auto production jobs abroad

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little excerpts from the article.

reuters has been running a special report on the union:

And how does opening a golf course exactly help them build cars more effectively? Seems pretty hypocritcal for them to complain about the white collar guys getting a raise, and then they build a golf course.

You can bet the UAW would have complained about management perks like this. I know that the USW complained about the golf course at every major steel mill that Bethlehem Steel owned.

the same way the CEO/board of the banks that got bailout money went on million dollar vacations after they got their handout.

I agree, but one would think that the unions would be a little better than that, after all they’re supposed to be in it for the workers right?

50 years ago, maybe, but not today. I think that’s why they’re trying to get so much for signup bonuses and such, so they can collect on that as well as the normal dues they get per person(about 2 hours’ wages from what I read).

What about golf courses. If you think that is bad, the only lakefront park in Benton Harbor.
In 1917, John and Carrie Klock deeded a half mile of lake Michigan frontage to the
City of Benton Harbor Michigan in memory of their deceased daughter Jean. Their
gift consisted of 90 acres of globally rare natural resources that included Great Lakes
Dunes, a Great Lakes Marsh and interdunal wetlands. The donated land was named
Jean Klock Park and was dedicated “FOR THE CHILDREN” - “in perpetuity” -

Leased to be a private Country Club

Emergency Financial Mgr leases public park for private golf course (Benton Harbor MI)
Rachel Maddow had a segment on her show last evening looking at the controversy over the Emergency Manager in Benton Harbor nullifying election results and forbidding elected bodies in that city from taking any actions whatsoever. She specifically cited the Michigan Messenger.

Maddow specifically mentioned the Jean Klock Park situation, a story that the Messenger has been following closely for years — and most of the media in the state have been ignoring. A large chunk of that park, deeded to the city on the condition that it remain a public park forever, was leased to private developers to be made into a golf course.

The republicans seem not to have a for the people agenda, as the leased land is for a private country club. Rep RICK SNyDER iS at the helm.

JMHO, but I don’t see a lot of difference between the top echelon of the big unions and the Mafia. It’s all about strong arming.

I wouldn’t consider things like this a Republican only issue; the weasels are pretty thick on both sides of the aisle.

OK I would love to disagree with you, wish it was not so, wish I did not have to choose the least worst alternative when I vote, but you are right, where to go from there?

I have no answer to that question. I voted election after election for decades and eventually changed my affilation to Independent but on election day it always came down to holding my nose and voting for the candidate that stinks slightly less than the other.
Generally one rotten fish on the riverbank smells the same as another though.

Year before last I shredded my voter card and chunked it into the trash. Enough was enough because the same things these clowns are arguing over now are the same things they were arguing over last year, last decade, and even 30 years ago.
Tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year it will still be going on.

If the Anarchy Party gets going I may re-register and start voting again… :slight_smile:

“JMHO, but I don’t see a lot of difference between the top echelon of the big unions and the Mafia.”

That’s a bit harsh. Now if you want to way that UAW management and Detroit 3 management are cut from the same cloth, I’d go along with you. I just have a problem with the criminal element of organized crime, and that gets in the way of agreeing with your analogy.

Anarchy Party!

Do we get to vote for Mr. Nobody again? Now that was a fun campaign.

Wasn’t the union pretty much a part of the mafia a long time ago? or was that the mob?

Different union. You may be thinking of the Teamsters.

Sooner or later I’m hoping that people will figure out that BIG labor, per se, isn’t THE problem.

BIG government (and/or political parties) isn’t THE problem either.

BIG corporations aren’t THE problem either.

All of these things share one important characteristic - HUGE bureaucracies, one and all. And huge bureaucracies all have very similar tendencies whether they are state, corporate, labor or whatever. They are intensive, but somewhat clumsy concentrations of social power that largely serve the interests of their “masters” - even though they are very unwieldy to master.

That said, do some history. 150 yrs ago none of these things really existed. The “dawn” of the massive organization that characterizes the present started with the growth of massive corporations and the US laws that allowed them. Big business brought us big government and big labor. And none of it is all that pleasant.

So this story says “leaders of massive organization use organizational resources toward their own interests…” and I’m saying, “well, duh…is that supposed to be information?” The fact that this story happens to be about labor doesn’t mean anything special to me.

All organizations have good and bad characteristics. I’m not familiar enough with why the UAW acquired the property and what they intended to do with it to get too excited about it.

My point about comparing the UAW (or any big union) to the Mafia is simply to point out that both use strong arm tactics to get what they want.

I know the official line of any large union would be that they do not condone violence and so on but I’m also of the opinion they may give a wink and a nod to it; off the record of course.

The UAW gives unions a bad name.

“The UAW gives unions a bad name.”

That won’t last long if they continue to behave as they have for the last 20 years. They will end up destroying their jobs as the USW did. If they don’t find a way to economically justify their high total compensation, their jobs will move elsewhere. GM and Ford already have operations around the world. With the new liaison between Chrysler and Fiat, they will have world-wide operations, too. I think that the Detroit 3 would prefer to keep their US operations, but the expense might get too high. It might already be too high.

They might just be waiting fort hat all inclusive excuse to move things to Mexico or Canada. Hell, Cuba is now finally able to buy cars again, so they might even open up a plant down there

Part of the problem with the UAW is the age of it’s members. There’s a Chryco plant in upstate NY (I have at least 2 relatives that work there). They were asked to take pay cuts…but if they did it would mean lower payments when they retired. Most of the workers are very close to retirement age…So they voted against the pay cuts…Mean while people like my nephew who’s only in his 40’s is going to be out of job when the plant closes later this year or next.