DETROIT, March 31 (Reuters) - Membership in the United Auto Workers union rose nearly 9,000 members to 391,415 in 2013, a fourth consecutive year of small gains for the UAW, according to an annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.
The slight gains in UAW membership came in a year when U.S. union membership was steady at around 14.5 million, about 11.3 percent of the national work force.
Since a low of 355,191 in 2009, UAW membership has gained 10 percent.
The UAW said the gains were partly due to additional jobs at General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plants where the union has long been established.
The UAW also said it took in new members in the gaming industry in Nevada and Ohio, as well as at auto supplier plants, including privately held Flex-n-Gate in Arlington, Texas and Faurecia Interior Systems in Louisville, Kentucky.
The 170 workers at the Faurecia plant gained UAW membership because the company allowed a majority in support of the union to be decided by the number who had signed cards supporting the union rather than by an election.
The UAW in mid-February lost a hotly contested union vote at Volkswagen AG’s in Chattanooga, Tennessee where most workers signed cards supporting the union. The election result is being appealed by the UAW. A National Labor Relations Board hearing is set for April 21.
The UAW also organized graduate students at New York University last year, the country’s only unionized graduate students at a private U.S. university.
“Workers in the South who are organizing are proving that Southern workers want and need unions,” said Bob King, UAW president. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall)