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Newsflash: UAW using new communications tools to get message out to members, retirees

You know it’s a new day when the UAW makes news for how they’re getting news out to members.

The union did just that when the New York Times ran a story headlined “Labor talks in Detroit go social” on Oct. 9. Here’s an excerpt:

“For generations, labor negotiations here have been the stuff of closed doors and tight lips. Just four years ago, when the United Auto Workers settled on contracts with the Big Three, the rank and file learned the details by crowding into union halls for meetings that were often chaotic and confusing. Many workers complained that they had not seen the fine print until the deals had been ratified.

But like so much in the American auto industry, the old rules of bargaining no longer apply. In recent weeks, the UAW’s website crashed in the hours after new contracts were unveiled with General Motors and the Ford Motor Co. because so many workers were downloading them.”

Some say the 2011 wave of social networking has provided a bigger window than ever before into the negotiating process in Detroit, even though the talks still occur in private. Member communication is more instant – and accurate – and is available to UAW retirees as well as active members.

“There is an unprecedented openness about this process,” Kristin Dziczek, labor analyst for the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., told the Times. “You’re not getting the blow by blow, but they’re being much more open and transparent in communicating with their members and with the public, who, quite frankly, made a major investment in saving these companies.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


Allows for quick updates on contract negotiations for our members.

Allows for our members to hold an open discussion that the UAW negotiators can take into account.

Allows the press to see this kind of communication, and use it as a reliable source, rather than rely on other, possibly erroneous sources.

Shows a higher level of transparency.

Helps remove the rumor mills looming around workplaces and the stigma that comes with rumors.

UAW on facebook:

UAW on twitter:

- Gives all UAW members a central place for news, links to social media.


- Gives members the ability to be the first to receive updates as they happen, before they’re released anywhere else.


- The union’s education and mobilization program.

- Empowers members to attend UAW actions.

- Has a point system for members to earn buttons as achievements as they increase their labor movement activity.

- Presenting video content as news and information to its membership.

– SolidWeb – Free Website tool for UAW regions and local unions.
– Allows for much improved communication between the International, regions and locals by having access to syndicating content which includes:

•Calls to Action
• Petitions
• Rallies
• Protests
• Charities
• Fund raisers
• Announcements
• Visit us at:

– Gives a central location for information that may not have been readily available.

– Gives locals a voice and empowers them to encourage more involvement to its members.

– Gives UAW local unions an outlet to post news about the union and their local, and inform their members of the updates provided by social media.


Compiled by Chris Skelly