Will The UAW Accept Performance Pay?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It’s not difficult to understand why the UAW has never contemplated agreeing to a wage rate tied to the profitability of its employer firms: simply put, it’s been a long time since big profits were the norm among the union-represented Detroit automakers. But now that Motown is back in the black and handing out record profit-sharing checks, it looks like the UAW could finally tie its own fate to that of the automakers… on certain conditions. UAW boss Bob King tells The WSJ [sub]

It would be an advantage if you can guarantee to the [Detroit] companies certain things on fixed costs so that they would remain competitive. When you’re successful, that’s good. But if you’re sharing more of the risk, you need to have more of the upside

In short, tying the union’s wage to the automakers’ financial performance is only an option if there’s something in it for the UAW. And end to two-tier? More US production? Board seats for the union? Who knows, possibly even a pay increase. With GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky saying things like

there is a big pay-for-performance element going through the company and there is going to be more of it,

one has to assume GM might be willing to play “let’s make a deal” with the union. Girsky’s been on the labor and management side of the equation.. in fact, at the moment he is (apparently) on both sides, as both a Vice Chairman of GM and the UAW VEBA fund’s representative on the Board of Directors. With that kind of connection between labor and management, and with much of the “risk” around Detroit’s performance having been removed by the government bailout, a UAW performance pay deal seems more likely than you might think. Whether it’s a good idea is another, far more complex question that I’ll leave to the comments section.

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  • Mfgreen40 Mfgreen40 on Jun 14, 2011

    I long for the good old days-- kick em off

    • See 5 previous
    • CJinSD CJinSD on Jun 14, 2011

      @CJinSD That sounds like an improvement over the juvenile delinquents from accross the street peeing on the palm trees in broad daylight!

  • Volts On Fire Volts On Fire on Jun 14, 2011

    This is fun to watch. It humors me as an individual -- but discourages and saddens me to no end as an American -- to watch the left-leaning elements work CJ and MikeAR into a lather. Even though those two are far closer to my own political -- make that moral -- POV than anyone who attempts to justify the continued existence of labor unions in this country today. So, in one more stab of measured futility, here are the facts: -Unions are well-known throughout history as being in cahoots with crime, organized and otherwise. Does that mean the UAW is complicit? Not necessarily. Does that make Bob King a crime lord? Hardly... though in physical stature, lack of social charisma, and the size of the obvious chip on his shoulder, he does resemble the Unabomber a little. Just saying. -Unions were necessary 100 years ago, and they were necessary in developing the litany of workplace protections that exist today. However, it isn't "The Jungle" out there anymore. Employers simply can't abuse workers to that extent today -- if for no other reason than there are far too many cell phone cameras and investigative "journalists" out there, eager to pounce on an easy public interest story on a deadline. And... -If you don't like your pay or your working conditions, you are entitled to make your case individually for better circumstances. You are also free to leave, in search of a better life somewhere else. That is where workers' general rights should begin, and end. Period. I used to view unions as corrupt entities, filled with mindless thugs. That's changed over the months, though. I now consider union members to simply be weak-willed, either unwilling to stand up for themselves... or self-aware enough to realize they wouldn't get very far if they had to do fend for themselves.

    • See 4 previous
    • Philosophil Philosophil on Jun 15, 2011

      @psarhjinian Viewed along Darwinian lines, natural selection usually favors social tendencies over selfish ones in most species and over most environments. Cooperative, social, and even altruistic tendencies would have been been more widely selected for among human beings than selfish tendencies precisely because individuals with those social traits would have enormous advantages over those with more purely selfish tendencies. For example, those with social tendencies would be able, generally speaking, to trust and rely upon their neighbor to help them accomplish things they would not otherwise have been able to do if left to their own selfish devices and individual abilities. I could go on... My point is that the idea that all individuals are ultimately on their own and must fend for themselves is based on the capitalistic myth that we are selfish, atomistic individuals at heart. The main problem with this picture is that it doesn't conform to the facts (including the widely accepted evolutionary accounts of our 'nature' as social beings). As I've said many times before, we are as much social being as we are individuals, and to try and claim that life is every individual for him or herself is an extremely one-sided view of the facts. ps. Of course, more Nietzschean-types who believe that this 'social' picture is the inversion of all true values (and so favor the more authoritarian rule of the overmen and their master morality) will object to this claim, but I would counter this by simply pointing to a host of other sources that cast serious doubt on this Nietzschean-styled position (which, having studied all of Nietzsche's texts over many years, I know quite well).

  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.