By on December 18, 2013

DetNews Photo

Norwood Jewell, a nominee to become a UAW vice-president, said that the autoworkers want to eliminate the two-tier wage system that pays new hires at a lower rate than higher seniority workers. The wage system was agreed to by the union to help the domestic automakers as they went through financial troubles when the economy turned down in 2007. New workers are paid slightly more than half of what veteran autoworkers earn.

“The international executive board hates two-tiers,” Jewell told Automotive News at a General Motors Co plant in Flint, Mich.  as the automaker was announcing $1.3 billion in investments in some of its plants in the U.S. midwest, mostly in Michigan. Jewell is currently director of UAW’s Flint region. “We didn’t do two tiers because it’s a wonderful thing,” he said, explaining that the financial circumstances six years ago more or less forced the two tier wages on the union. “We hate them. We intend to eliminate them over time.”

Current UAW contracts with GM, Ford and Chrysler expire in 2015. The union’s resentment of the current two level wage structure combined with strong profits at all three domestic automakers in recent years along with the fact that higher tier workers haven’t gotten a pay raise in ten years means that negotiations on the new contract will be difficult.

The car companies say that the lower tier entry level wages are necessary for them to be able to compete on labor costs with the transplant assembly plants operated by German, Japanese and Korean automakers. New hires start at just under $16/hr, rising over time to over $19/hr. Veteran workers make about $28/hr.

Jewell said that a key tactic in eliminating the two-tier wages will be the unions organizing those non-union transplant facilities, mostly located in the southern U.S. “If we don’t organize them and bring them up to our standard, we’re never going be able to totally eliminate the second tier,” he said.

Jewell also said that the companies’ profits will help the union make its case when contract talks are opened.

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67 Comments on “UAW Wants to End Two-Tier Wages in Next Contract...”


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It would be nice if everyone received equal pay. But reality is reality. The UAW is partly responsible for the mess that eventuated within the Big 3.

    I suppose one alternative is to quit if you don’t like your pay or better still, expand your education and get a higher paying job.

    The UAW’s view is to increase wages with a corresponding increase in socialist protectionist tariffs and regulations to protect your job.

    Makes a lot sense with the US economy still on life support. If you remove the life support from the US economy to quickly is is good?

    I think the UAW must use some common sense here instead of coming out with bull$hit ideas to prop up its support amongst the rank and file.

    Leadership means to make and support unpopular decisions. The UAW has failed dismally at this in recent history.

    The senior workers could reduce their pay to $19ph and use the money to subsidise their bretheren, rather than expecting others to pay for their excesses.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ BAfO….Oh yeah I can see a potential new leader standing in front of the membership.

      “Brothers and sisters, vote for me and I will reduce your wages by 19 dollars an hour” “its all for the common good, I’m sure, all you folks can understand that”

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @mikey
        Your response is why unionism is going to defeat itself.

        So, the leadership in unions should only try to aim for unrealistic goals and hope for something.

        Imagine if a country is run that way and the public expects the government to provide handouts/protectionism with little revenue income. A country would go broke.

        That’s why good leadership is hard to find. The leaders are only worried about their longer term position than the good of their rank and file and most importantly the organisation that are paying their wages.

        If you want to have what a capitalist like myself have, then be prepared to take a risk and earn that money.

        Don’t just sit back and whine and cry that the rich are rich.

        You unionists’/socialists’ want what a capitalist has with one big exception. You are not prepared to take risk and work for it.

        So, when a business runs at a loss why doesn’t the union contribute money to keep them afloat? You guys expect capitalist to support your paradigms.

        Sort of a hypocritical attitude, isn’t it? Almost parasitic.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Really perhaps you missed my message. I was just telling the folks just how un realistic you proposal is.

          Your capitalist? How nice, and you have lots of things? Very cool.

          How do you know that I want what you have?

          How do you know,that I might not already have it?

          I don’t recall including all that in my post.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @mikey
            Spoken like a true socialist. Lots of things? Wow, how child like.

            I suppose children are socialist and base value on someone having something they think they perceive they are missing.

            How pathetic a view on life you have mikey.

            Capitalism isn’t about buying the mostest, biggest, etc. Most union/socialist I know have wasted money buying big cars, quads, bikes, etc. That was their decision, so who should pay for their excesses?

            I wanted to place myself in a reasonable position for retirement and travel, afford to have a roof over my head with food.

            But, I was prepared to take risks to achieve this and not expect others to pay my way.

            Whilst many in life spent their weekends and holidays with their toys I worked building homes. Taking risk and working.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @mikey
            I don’t know or care what you want other than you are healthy and aren’t hungry.

            I don’t think protectionism and subsidies at the expense of others should support you though.

            That money could be better spent, this in effect would force you to re-evaluate how you can live sustainably and not at the expense of everyone in your country. This is what is happening with the current model in Western societies.

            Mulitply you by millions and you can see the problem.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            BAf0…. It never ceases to amaze me how you can read someones comment,and come up with some of the most absurd observations.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @mikey
          I’m against poor unions and people who are reliant on society.

          Have a look at your Canadian vehicle industry. How many taxpayers billions have been pumped into it? Ontario dumped $8 billion into it during the onset of the GFC alone.

          A large part went to the then CAW’s pension fund. Now the pension fund will need either a handout from the government because it has spent all the money or the auto manufacturer (GM) will have to cough up the cash. Great for your country.

          Latest estimates are between $600-800 million for this year alone.

          So out of every dollar it earnt how much was subsidised? 5%?

          That indicates to me that your Canadian industry isn’t viable. That has been my stance.

          So in effect all cost involving these subsidies is inadequate by about whatever the percentage of taxpayer input was.

          So why not increase the price of the product to reflect its true value?

          Because imports will sell. Then you guys are overpaid.

          • 0 avatar
            Bigs Brother

            You clearly don’t understand how a pension works or how it’s funded. You can thank the car company/wall street for pension short falls. NOT the unions.

            Also, I hope you don’t rely on roads, schools, communication lines… you know, things that you relied on society to build.

            You have such a one dimensional view on life, my friend.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    they had the choice for equal pay – everyone getting a lower pay. but the then-members decided only new-hires had to get a cut. So why is the union blaming management for soemthing they wanted?

    I’m sure management is interested in equal (lower) pay since 2-tier casues trouble and makes it hard to recruit good employees.

    And equal pay is fine if they really follow through the UAW and CAW president should get the same pay as workers and not $400k/a as they do now.

    As “Animal Farm” has shown, all are equal, except the pigs are more equal.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      FYI….The CAW no longer exsists. They combined with some other floundering private sector unions. Time will tell if the move was successful.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Mikey – correct. CAW merged with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union.

        This link shows how desperate they are:
        ” Canada’s new super-union expands its membership to include everyone — even people without a job”
        http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/15/canadas-new-super-union-expands-its-membership-to-include-everyone-even-people-without-a-job/

        Wow – we now can have union representation while collecting Unemployment Insurance or Welfare.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Of course they realize that if this works, those veteran members’ pay is going to go down…significantly. I hope they don’t think that everyone’s going to get the $28 per hour.

    In the words of the Pussycat Dolls, “Be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it (grrrrr).”

  • avatar
    mikey

    Ok people, before this gets out of hand. Oh! and I’m sure it will.

    Keep this in mind folks. Union leaders,and wannabe union leaders,are first and foremost,….politicions.

    Like politicions everywhere,and of every political stripe, they open their mouths and babble away.

    Most of what they propose, never comes to fruitation. If it does, its usually a whole lot watered down version.

    Mikey…

    {former UAW and CAW and now an hounary member of UNIFOR }

    Let the bashing begin!

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Mikey,
      if you care to comment on this; how did the CAW merging with UNIFOR effect your guys pensions?

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @el scotto…. The union does not administer our pensions. GM does. On the other hand, Our benifits are financed by “The Health Care Trust”. The only difference between the HCT and VEBA, is ours has been funded with a lumps sums from GM Canada. The VEBA is a GM shareholder.

        However, our pensions are negotiated every six years. Sooner or later, second tier workers with their “undefined benefit” pensions, will outnumber the first tier workers.

        I think of that as a ticking time bomb.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Michigan became a right-to-work state last year, meaning that workers have the right to work at a company without being forced to join a union. Shockingly workers in many states, including my own, lack that right.

    For the UAW that means the low-tier workers in Michigan do not have to join the UAW and pay dues. And why would they since the union threw the newest workers under the bus to keep above market pay for the workers with “seniority” (a union concept where your pay rises, even without improved performance or promotion, because you get older).

    The UAW can pretend that high school graduates are worth a starting salary of $60,000 a year plus generous benefits and pension. But that is not reality in the real world (only the public sector union cop job world, and even some of those positions require an associates degree).

    If the UAW is somehow able to force the top-tier wages across the board then that will just mean more plants in Mexico, and more automation. Many robotics that do not make sense to replace $30K a year workers will make sense to replace $60K a year workers.

    I suppose as automation keeps replacing workers the UAW will also want a return to the jobs bank.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Well, if Fast Food Forward thinks flipping burgers is worth $15/hour, then obviously someone assembling cars must be worth a lot more than $19. Not that either job requires much in the way of education or skills.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @jpolicke
      I think you are looking at a wage/income structure based on the US’s current model.

      If the minimum wage is increased to $15ph then this will cause inflation. This will place pressure on the rest of the workforce’s income. The actual rise of the higher waged/salaried worker will not rise as great if expressed in a percentage. The greater the current income the less movement upwards of income is required.

      The US has a very high disparity of income, this is also reducing the middle class in the US. The higher minimum will also improve productivity as industries try to maintain prices via efficiencies.

      The USD would then be valued to reflect the ‘new’ income model.

      Simple. Don’t look at how and what is going on in the US currently. Look at the impact of the changes across the board.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        Yup, the changes would be fairly redistributive. There would be inflation, but it would be most harmful to those whose incomes are very far away from the minimum wage.

        Is that a worthwhile thing? That’s an opinion question that’s not terribly appropriate for an automotive site, but I do comprehend the idea behind a (massive) jump in minimum wage.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    This is an interesting subject. First of all, I would just like to call out the UAW for selling out thier younger and future members to save 100% of thier own pay check. If the UAW had agreed to a small across the board cut, all would be equal. But, surprise! The senior members did not want to give a dime and put the cuts squarely on the shoulders of less senior and future members. Thats solidarity!

    My wife is a teacher in Michigan. She is a member of a union and newer hires are basically subject to the same wage limitations through different means. A teacher who started 6 or 7 years before the great recession is probably making double what a new hire currently makes due to massive step pay increases during the fat years and what is essentially a pay freeze since 2009 or so.

    This is not really a problem for the UAW, teachers unions and senior union members. The problem lies in the fact that Michigan is now a “right to work” state and the UAW has maybe the majority of its members in Michigan. Selling out less senior members is common union practice and would just be shrugged off in years past. However, upon renewal of Union contracts, automatic wage deductions for union dues goes out the window for all members. That means that these members making half as much as their peers for the same job need to get out a checkbook and write a check for X amount of dollars for their dues each month and put postage on it, drop it in a mailbox in homage to the very organization that has terminally sacked them with what is barely a living wage. Thank you unions. I suspect that many of them will decline this monthly slap in the face and just pocket the money saved. This is the UAW’s fear, plain and simple.

    Another interesting development is that unions are making every attempt to get around the new right to work laws by characterizing their new contracts as extensions of existing ones. It is really a joke because they “extensions” contain many new terms vs the old contract. But, whatever it takes to keep those dues rolling in via automatic pay deduction and at the expense of the employer rather than the Union. I believe this practice is illegal and will probably go to court at some point.

    Sorry for the long comment, just wanted to state the real motive for the UAW’s sudden change of heart on the two tier wage system.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The story will continue to develop but it will be interesting to see how RTW affects UAW over time. If I’m a two tier worker sure I’ll take a wage increase if UAW campaigns for it (who wouldn’t?), but I will remember how they screwed me to begin with and know given the chance they would do it again. Hopefully two tiered workers remember this and vote with their wallets to not pay their dues.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ 28-Cars-Later….The assembly line can be a very cruel environment. Like a lot of other jobs, your stuck with your co-workers. Your also physically stuck in one spot. Once you have mastered an assembly line job, then you have to deal with mind numbing boredom. As do all of the other people around you. Idle minds, are like idle hands,they do the devils work.

        Now suppose your in a group of eight workers,all working in a close proximity to you. 6 of your co-workers are paying union dues, 2 or you are not.Believe me, there is no secrets on the plant floor. Everybody will know who is, and who isn’t.

        So your out numbered 6 of them, 2 of you. Every day will be eight hours of living hell,for you and the other guy.

        Is that the way it should be in the modern world? No! Don’t we have anti harassment/bullying policies you say? Yes we do. None of it means anything, when your on the recieving end of it.

        I’m certainly not the Brightest or the most educated here at TTAC. I’m however VERY well versed in assembly line culture.

    • 0 avatar
      mypoint02

      The so called solidarity only lasts until the senior workers are impacted. My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and was a first year teacher in 2011 when the collective bargaining changes were passed here. She was the one who covered classes for her “brothers and sisters” who called in sick to protest in Madison. When concessions were needed to close a budget gap and save teaching positions, union leadership refused to reopen the contract, so she was laid off along with hundreds of others.

      The first thing that the new hires should learn is that the union doesn’t really care about them – it only cares about itself. They will gladly sacrifice younger workers to keep the status quo in place for older workers. I can’t see why any new hire would willingly pay dues when they are constantly being sold down the river by union leadership.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Do i think these people get payed too much. Yes. Is it bad that they have a union no.

    Most people with no college education will never make $19 an hour unless they are lucky.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Hmmm…. people working at Costco Wholesale the country over, and any number of shipyards in the tidewater area would disagree with you. As well as many tradespeople (mechanics, electricians, plumbers, et al).

      And please…. 19 bucks an hour is only great pay in some podunk town where the biggest industry is the local gun/alcohol dispensary.

      In the areas of the US inhabited by the majority of the population 19 dollars an hour amounts to a comfortably livable wage for a single person.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Working for a supplier to the formerly big 3, I see a lot of tier 2 workers really struggling financially. On the one hand, they are glad they have a job when some other folks don’t; but on the other hand, they see the tier 1 worker next to them on the line, and they can’t help but feel jealous. The two-tier wage scale is a cancer that will undermine the UAW if it is not eliminated.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Not to mention the fact that it may undermine quality as well. What incentive does one person have to work as hard or harder than the next person when that next person is making considerably more money for the same job?

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Starvation.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ Kyree S. Williams…..I guess I will mention this again. The assembly line worker, in a modern manufacturing facility, has little, or no input into quality.

        Management sets, and enforces, the quality standard.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          If that is the case, then why should a manufacturer pay a premium for their assembly workers over the legal minimum wage or the local going rate for unskilled indoor labor?

          If you get the same quality of work out of anybody who will show up on time and follow instructions, than what’s the benefit to paying extra?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Henry Ford instituted the $5 day because the turnover rate was so high that it reduced production capacity. It was cheaper to pay the workers more money and to build more cars than it was to produce fewer cars due to workforce shortages.

            Auto assembly line work does require on-the-job training, and like most physical work, it isn’t particularly easy or satisfying. That calls for paying more than minimum wage, as Henry Ford learned firsthand.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            In a case of reverse Darwinism my company paid more than comparable wages in the area. I got to choose who I thought were the B&B in the hiring pool and get the built-in experience of those seeking a better paying job. Most were very happy to work for me. I really just don’t get the meme of “paying my employees as little as possible and laughing at their benefits package make me look smart.” YMMV or You Get What You Pay For.

        • 0 avatar
          ZoomZoom

          Mikey, I just don’t give a damn. This is why I will never buy another GM car again. More of the same. Decades of poor quality and even some dangerous flaws off the line. And no real serious change in management or practice. It amounts to a disrespect of the customer, and a disrespect of the taxpayer.

          Personally, if I headed up TTAC, I would be seriously investigating the need for a new Deathwatch series. I think it’s THAT bad.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, what got me was Akerson announcing to the world that GM owes the taxpayer nothing. Did you catch that on Bloomberg?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It will be a tough sell for the UAW at the non-union transplants. What do they offer a line worker that will improve their lives? I used to an Iron Worker. I am interested to find out what kind of training UAW member receive.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @el scotto….An Iron Worker? I don’t care how much training you give to a potential Iron Worker, I’m sure theres a whole lot of folks that plain couldn’t do it.

      I’m sure the focus on Iron worker training,is that he doesn’t kill himself,or somebody else.

      The assembly line worker needs to consider safety, but not in the same league as an Iron Worker.

      I spent 10 years as an assembly line trainer/group leader. Some people, just can’t work with their hands. Others could do the job,but couldn’t keep up with the pace of the line. The jobs these days are timed at about 55 seconds to the minute. Yes, lots of training. However, similar to Iron Workers ,just for different reasons, lots of people can’t do it.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Mikey,
        two things: 1. Thank you for your thoughtful replies, 2. Thanks for giving an insiders view of what goes on in a plant/on an assembly line. I used to do this an ironworker: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/structural-iron-and-steel-workers.htm and this too: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/reinforcing-iron-and-rebar-workers.htm Different physical demands between these jobs and working an assembly line. Still they are physically demanding jobs. Long story short: I got injured on the job (my elbow) and the Ironworkers union took care of my medical and rehabilitation expenses. My surgery and rehab went well.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I think all auto workers should make $400K/year, and be able to retire at 45 with full pay and benefits for life.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ E46M3_ 333…. Run for the UAW leaders position. Do a good “sell job” to the membership with your proposal. You sir will win, hands down.

    The job will come when the when GM , Ford and Chrysler tell you to f—off. Now stand up at a ratification meeting, and tell the rank and file it didn’t work out.

    Its not that hard. Many have gone before you, and come out of the meeting with all their limbs intact.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    There should be – just like in any work place I’ve worked in – somewhat of a sliding salary scale based on a variety of factors (time on the job, meeting individual and/or group goals, not sucking, etc.)

    But if the UAW insists on one pay rate, my quick and dirty solution is to take the average of what the new hires ($19/hour) and the veterans ($28/hour) make, which comes out to a $23.50/hour across the board final offer, invite the union to strike and let them settle things internally. One of the legacy issues of the Big 3 (and in particular GM) was that they more often than not caved on these union negotiations because it was better to get along than to fight. It is now time to fight.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Google the Flint Strike of 98. GM had the UAW on the run,solidarity was crumbling. Rick W blinked.

    While you at it read” Rivethead Ben Hamper”. Somebody here at TTAC recommended “A Savage Factory Robert Dewar” Both excellent reads.

    You may come a way with a whole different opinion.

  • avatar
    ash78

    In places like Montgomery, Vance, Lincoln, Greer, West Point, etc, the next best (local) semi-skilled alternative work for many assembly workers is substantially less money. They know that, the organizers know that, and the management knows that. The cost of living in many of these areas has been based around historically agrarian economies, low population density, but relatively good proximity to logistics channels.

    However, in the Rust Belt — the cradle of the US Industrial Revolution — you have several generations of workers who built entire social and physical infrastructures around a wage structure that was increasingly propped up by the union system. There is simply no comparison between the two places.

    If labor mobility were perfect, you’d simply have a bunch of Midwesterners moving to the rural South for a 20% pay cut, but 40% lower cost of living. That doesn’t happen much in real life because of that social infrastructure. So inevitably people complain about tax subsidies in the South, evil unions in the Midwest, and there’s no real solution.

    I always wondered why the traditional union shops didn’t just locate somewhere a little cheaper (say, a few hours from Detroit) and encourage workers to move there. Make a fresh start and enjoy some of the lower wage benefits that the Southern plants enjoy. Inevitably the two systems will have to converge somewhere.

    This is just part of the cost of being an manufacturing employee today. My dad worked in aviation mfg management from the early 70s to the late 90s and we moved all over the country to make ends meet. Some shops were union, some were greenfield non-union a few hours from the nearest organized plant. It was always a juggle.

  • avatar
    love2drive

    I think they made a mistake calling it a two-tier system, which would create ill will amongst the ranks. Better to have simply referred to new structure as the new structure, affecting all newly hired workers. There is no “tier 2″, they’re just people grandfathered in to the former structure.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Good thinking.

      Here’s an alternate approach to getting rid of the “two-tier perception”:
      -There is only one tier.
      -New hires come in under the new wage structure for a “probationary period” after which they get the same pay as the older guys.
      -The probationary period lasts 30 years.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Nice in theory but in the real world UAW workers have seen through such bullcrap. A buddy of mine works for Ford in Louisville. The Tier 2 employees know it every single minute, every single hour, every single day. Besides, Tier 2 has been going on for awhile, I think it started in the late 80′s.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding the reason behind the two pay levels. Aren’t they paying trainees, or apprentices, a trainee wage? Once they’ve proven they can do the assigned job well, and are going to stay with the company, their wages go up. Just like almost every other job in America.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      No. Under the two-tier system all new hires are permanently on a separate, lower wage scale than the older workers.

      They do go up with time and experience, but always remain significantly lower than the old wage scale would pay at the same level.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      It is not a training period. Younger workers make half the money of older workers, despite doing the same work (probably better work since they are younger). Unions make it so that workers are not paid based on their skills, but based on who has the most power in the union. The UAW has a lot of older workers voting, so they threw the younger workers under the bus.

      Soon the younger workers in Michigan will no longer have to pay union dues. Although based on comments above the thug entitled older workers will apparently try to intimate the younger workers into continuing to pay union dues. We’ll see how that goes. Especially with any well managed company on the younger workers side. Hopefully the thug older workers’ will act out enough to let the company fire them.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I imagine it will go something like this:

        Veteran: Hey Junia, I hearz you don’t wanna pay yaz union dues.

        New Guy: Hey Grandpa, give me a third of your wages and I’ll pay. Until then, STFU.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      UAW members work the assembly line and are in a labor union. You hire in, join the UAW and get raises based on being an assembly line worker; they don’t have tiered positions. Trade unions follow the tiered apprentice, journeyman, route with increases in pay at each tier. There are both labor and trade unions in a vehicle plant. Many on here will caterwaul that they are all scum and thugs.

  • avatar
    George B

    Isn’t the major labor cost issue for UAW represented workers the cost of benefits, not wages? The rural non-UAW factories have to offer relatively high wages to keep assembly line workers in a boring job, but they don’t have to fund the UAW benefits package.

  • avatar
    redav

    Being in a different labor market than auto line workers, the first thing that hits me is are experienced workers more valuable than new, unexperienced workers? If so, then they should be paid more; otherwise, the pay structure basically says regardless how long you’ve done this job, you are no different than the guy they just pulled off the street, which, IMO, would be a sad thing.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    I have to say it is amazing what a year or two and less openly anti-union posts can create. Nearly half or possibly a slim majority are pro-union or atleast neutral to it. I’m always intrigued yo read these because I work with unions and academia…and…academic unions though to a lesser degree becausr I like my job and I’m only closing in on tenure.

    When we’re discussing the UAW we have to deal with two issues of which neither is set in stone. One is that globalization does not mean cars made here must be more expensive. If we look at supply channels if car makers made closer to their home base while paying competitive wages there wouldn’t be a need to outsource costs. The second is that if we account for inflation the 1960s UAW worker made far better than his 2013 counterpart. The fact that they’re paid even modestly close to their productivity is a testament to the benefits of unionization.

    As a third subject that is such a hardened meme…GM and the rest entered the malaise era due to corporate capitalist greed. Nothing unions or liberals or whatever else you want to blame made Detroit build terrible cars. There is more proof to the argument they got sloppy because the independents closed up shop in the 1950s and by the end of the 1960s the basic trends that supported their marketing trends were engineering-wise nearing their limits (I.e. 500ci big blocks just aren’t that efficient). So they were flat-footed and the relationship of southern politics to the poor became a focal point of discussion and an accepted ideological standard even though basic economics countered it. But I digress…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    The two-tier world is not just seen in unionised manufacturing plants . Have personally worked in office jobs as a perma-temp making considerably less , esp. considering benefits , than the regular , full-time staff . Oddly , they seemed to harbor great resentment towards the contract workers and often seemed to be under the delusion that we were being paid more then they were , and it may well be the contract company I worked for was billing them more for my pay than they were getting , not that I was seeing that kind of money .

    • 0 avatar
      Sanman111

      I have done that as well when I was waiting o a license for my real job. However, they used us as full time workers to keep the actual employees at 25hrs/wk so they did not have to pay benefits to them. As you can imagine, it caused a lot animosity. The joke was we all got paid much less than $19/hr and our job was to proctor exams for doctors and stock brokers. As a doctor waiting on a license, I laughed ad I can imagine one of these guys easily paying a bribe to allow them to cheat on an exam and not report it.


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