UAW strike against GM for higher wages and better benefits. On September 15 at 11:59 PM 46,000 employees walked out of 55 GM facilities in the US, starting their strike. Contract extension talks have been in the works for months; however, no resolution has been met, at least for GM. The UAW is not striking against Ford or Fiat Chrysler since they’ve already sealed extensions to contracts.
UAW Strike Against GM – Show Me the Money
I’m doing my best to be objective here and provide the facts, but my feelings may be felt, just a little. GM legacy workers earn $28-33 per hour (~60K/year). In addition to this, they also have health and retirement benefits. According to the Center for Automotive Research, a UAW worker only pays about 3% of his/her health care costs. Quite different from the average US workers’ 28%. Furthermore, GM and Ford spend more than $1B (billion) each year on health coverage.
The UAW strike against GM is not all about the legacy worker, hence they want wages increased for temporary workers as well. Throughout the year, GM’s workforce fluctuates, so about 7% or considered temporary workers. These “temps” are paid $15 an hour and the UAW wants to see this raised. Not only a raise, but the UAW also wants to see a better path for making temporary workers permanent.
$721 Million Cash in Bank – Going to $850M
Currently, the UAW has $721,000,000 in its strike fund, and their intentions are to boost this amount to $850M. In March 2018, union dues were increased to raise these additional funds. Once the $850M is achieved, union dues are supposed to drop by 20%.
The UAW pays strike wages of only $250 a week. $721M divided by 46,000 (employees) equals $15,673 per employee. Take that $15,673 and divide by $250, and you get 62.6 weeks. At $250/week, the UAW could stay on strike for 62.6 weeks. Meanwhile, these workers are getting paid beans, while the UAW executives are still making their $200K plus benefits.
GM Offers to UAW
GM claims that its offer to UAW exceeded $7 billion of investments in the U.S. over the 4-year life of the contract. In addition, GM would provide 5,400 more jobs, as well as higher pay and better benefits. Part of this deal also included solutions for the four GM assembly plants shut down earlier this year in Michigan and Ohio.
Each day that U.S. plants are shut down, it costs GM about $400 million each day, and GM only has about 90 days of inventory for most vehicles.
UAW execs are making $200K salaries with benefits and their pay doesn’t stop. No skin off their backs to put the laborers out on strike. In fact, investigations are in play now about “personal benefits” exceeding what the government allows. It seems that these executives are currently in the hot-seat with the government.
Pay and benefits for GM UAW employees are well above the national average, and yet you want to possibly cripple the hand that feeds you. I’m not sure that my mind can compute this. I also want to be clear: I don’t agree with any corporation abusing an employee. I’m a full believer in the American Capitalist system. It was a different system than any other in the world and it’s stood now for well over 200 years.
So, how do we keep corporations from abusing employees and vice versa? Why can’t we all just abide by the Golden Rule: “Treat others like you would like to be treated.” Or what about when Jesus Christ was asked what the greatest commandment was. Jesus answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27a). Oh my goodness, we just used a Bible reference, that’s political suicide, regardless if it’s true. Christ didn’t mean that we forget all the other commandments. However, if you follow the two commandments that Christ gave, it’s very hard not to obey the rest while doing so.
UAW – Play nice. You’re getting great wages and better benefits than most.
GM – Take care of your employees. Honor them and let them know they’re awesome.
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