DETROIT -- Delegates to the United Auto Workers convention have voted to raise dues by 25 percent to shore up the union's finances, the first increase in 47 years.
Representatives from local unions across the nation approved the increase with a show of hands, raising dues from two hours of pay per month to 21⁄2 hours.
About two-thirds of the roughly 1,100 delegates attending the convention in Detroit voted for the increase after more than two hours of debate.
The move will help bolster the finances of the UAW, which for years has been selling assets and raiding its strike fund to pay operating expenses.
It will raise about $15 million per year for the union, but the average longtime auto worker who makes just over $28 per hour will pay around $14 more per month.
Annual dues revenue has dropped nearly 40 percent since 2006 to $115 million as membership dropped 27 percent. The strike fund has fallen from more than $914 million in 2005 to about $627 million at the end of last year.
President Bob King said the increase is needed for the union to build power and keep up efforts to organize Southern auto plants. The bulk of the union's workers are employed by the Detroit Three automakers -- Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.
The increase would go to bolster the strike fund, but $25 million would be transferred from the strike fund to the operating fund.
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