January 31, 2010

“COME THE REVOLUTION, WE’LL OWN THAT PLACE.” And then?

The UAW turned the lodge into a stunning and sprawling $33 million complex, adding another 200 acres and a $6 million golf course rated among the best 100 public courses in the nation.

Although it bills itself as an education center, it is actually a world-class resort, long a favorite spot for the union’s leaders to unwind. Reuther, who made the place his personal retreat, died in a plane crash on his way to Black Lake in 1970. His ashes are scattered on the grounds.

But today a “For Sale” sign hangs from the resort, which has required more than $25 million in subsidies from the union’s depleted treasury over the past five years. The UAW’s membership has fallen to roughly 430,000, from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979.

The corruptions of power. Plus this: “Even in Michigan, the bluest of blue-collar states, union membership has dropped well below 20 percent, and there’s a growing drumbeat to get a right-to-work proposal on the ballot as a means of improving the state’s economic competitiveness.”