Herbert Strather: What should the UAW do to reinvent itself into relevancy?

As most people know, I write about how to leverage real estate in Detroit. Although the UAW is not dirt or bricks and mortar, it is big-time real estate in the "D" and it is in trouble. After losing the Tennessee battle, thanks partially to the GOP, it has to ask itself: "How do we make ourselves more relevant and grow?"

I have a few suggestions that come from a non-UAW member looking from the outside and hoping the UAW can save itself. Here goes:

1. Education: Devote more resources to educating members about services and skills needed by employers. Joint venture with colleges and universities and offer tuition rebates. Create programs exclusively for union members paid for by the UAW. This will create the best possible skilled labor force.

2. Member competition: Create competition amongst union members to be the employee of the quarter (or month) at the places where they work. There can be an annual award dinner with a substantial financial reward for the top employees. Criteria can be set by the UAW and the company, i.e. quality control, production, best ideas, timeliness, etc.

3. Create wealth for employees: Form a public corporation and put all bonuses into it. The stock prices will increase dramatically as the bonuses increase. By way of example, let's say the UAW created GME LLC for General Motors employees, issued all of them stock in GME, the company had a good year and paid out $8,000 per employee in bonuses. Instead of the employees getting bonuses, their stock would dramatically increase. If a stock had an $8,000 dividend, the stock should be worth somewhere between $80,000 and $200,000.

4. Personal development opportunities: Create personal development opportunities for the employees such as real estate training (of course), advance technological learning, how to buy stocks and so forth.

5. Use members as a force in the community: Encourage and support civic engagement by UAW members. Offer awards for the best project, i.e. UAW Community Optimist Clubs, Habitat for Humanity and UAW Boys and Girls Club. In other words, use your members as a force in the community.