UAW Entry-Level "Tier Two" Workers Get Pay Bump

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In yesterday’s coverage of the new UAW-GM contract, I wrote

What’s not yet clear is whether entry-level “Tier Two” workers, who make half what their “Tier One” brothers make, got a raise. Though it’s clear that GM and the UAW worked to avoid major increases to fixed costs by concentrating on jobs and profit-sharing bonus checks, the NYT confirms that the union was asking for some kind of entry-level raise. Given that no outlet is confirming any such Tier Two raise, though, it seems as though the UAW’s culture of seniority-over-solidarity has won out.

I was wrong. The Detroit News‘s Christina Rogers reports that GM will

give entry-level workers a $2-$3 an hour increase. Those so-called tier two employees, who are paid $14-$16 an hour, will be boosted to $16-$19 an hour.

Good for you, UAW. Thank you for proving me wrong. But the sooner the union shares the burden of the “new normal” equally across its entire membership, the better. This is a step in the right direction, but as long as some brothers are more equal than others, it’s going to be tough to talk transplant workers into what still amounts to a seniority pyramid scheme.

Edward Niedermeyer
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  • NormSV650 NormSV650 on Sep 18, 2011

    Tier ll is still below the transplant(foreign plants) and guarantees a union due. Win-win for UAW.

    • TrailerTrash TrailerTrash on Sep 18, 2011

      um...but this is my original point about the con with such statistics. Isn't tier 1 way above the imports/implants? So...IF you go about trying to use play with numbers...this is what you kind of not mention the whole picture. My point is you can't start a game with agreed rules, even get taxpayers to put money into the pot...then start frigging with the rules. It is a con...plain and simple. Look...I love a good con...but get kind of pissed when those playing it are caught and act sanctimonious or point and accuse me of wrong doing.

  • PintoFan PintoFan on Sep 18, 2011

    The two-tier system isn't ideal, but I don't think that it's permanent. Give it 5 years, and we will probably see a reversal to a single-tier system- albeit with pay cuts for the upper level. A lot of it depends on the UAW's ability to unionize transplant factories. When Spring Hill is reinstated, I doubt that Volkswagen will be able to hold out for long. A good deal for the UAW will only strengthen their position against the transplants.

    • See 2 previous
    • Geeber Geeber on Sep 19, 2011

      @geeber The UAW's problem is that it was born battling the icy, aloof Alfred P. Sloan of GM and the vicious Harry Bennet of Ford. They truly viewed the worker as little more than machines that could be easily replaced. The management teams of Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota aren't going to be that stupid.

  • Mikey Mikey on Sep 18, 2011

    @ PintoFan.. I agree with you to a point. However,getting the transplants on board,it all depends on how well the transplants treat thier workforce. As it stands today, there is no incentive for the transplant workforce to vote union. Though that can, and will change.

    • See 6 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Sep 19, 2011
      @golden2husky Toyota wasn’t worried about the competition adopting its techniques, because competitors viewed it mainly as a method to cut costs, not as way of organizing the company from the factory floor to the executive suite. I'm not sure whether TMC was concerned, but yes, Detroit didn't understand that lean production doesn't just involve scrapping job classifications for labor. It also involves creating a leaner management system, with less top-down authority. That is the sort of power that Detroit white-collar managers never wanted to give up, particularly GM with its engrained non-invented-here mentality. Of the Detroit Three, I believe that Ford is the one that most “gets it,” and even Ford isn’t quite there yet. Ford began to adapt aspects of lean production during the 80s, but then only partially. It has taken them more than two decades to get this far with it.
  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Sep 18, 2011

    I'm sure the work environment in plants with both tiers is Kumbaya kosher. It's gotta be a joy to manage the plant floor, too. For comparison purposes, does anyone know the approximate breakdown of the wage structure in transplant factories? From what I understand, there's about 6 job descriptions from general line workers (in the low $20/hour range) to skilled trades (at over $40/hour - better than their UAW counterparts).