GM's Akerson Asks CAW To Cut Hourly Wage Costs

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
gms akerson asks caw to cut hourly wage costs

Calling Canada “ the most expensive place in the world to build a car right now“, Dan Akerson threw his hat into the “ hourly wage costs need to come down” ring at GM’s annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday.

Unlike in the United States, there is no two-tier wage scale for Canadian Auto Workers union members, a decision that prompted GM to close a line at the Oshawa assembly plant, and move production of the Impala and Equinox to plans where workers can make $14 an hour rather than $32 an hour.

GM’s “all-in” labor costs in Canada are estimated to be $60 per hour, whereas the pre-2011 agreement that GM had signed with the UAW meant that American labor costs pegged at about $56 an hour. Negotiations between the Big Three and the CAW are due once the current labor contracts expire in September. The CAW responded by stating that the strong Canadian dollar and higher labor costs was evened out by increased productivity. GM’s Oshawa plant in particular has a stellar reputation as one of GM’s best plants.

Sparring over things like cost-of-living adjustments has already begun between the two sides, while bonuses based on company profitability are expected to be the biggest sticking point in negotiations.

Join the conversation
5 of 21 comments
  • Buickman Buickman on Jun 13, 2012

    let him take half, prick.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Jun 13, 2012

    $32/hr? I need a job there...

  • El scotto El scotto on Jun 14, 2012

    How many of you have ever worked in a factory? I think a great many in here sneer at anyone who doesn't work in a cubicle. With their "superior" attitude they find it oh so easy to make cheap shots at the working person. Until they're outsourced.

    • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Jun 14, 2012

      el scotto: I haven't worked in a factory. My father however, has and does. Personally, I have the great honor of FIXING cars whenever the factory f***s up, or replacing a defective part due to bean-counting. I happen to work on the cars of the cubicle workers, most of which couldn't tie their shoes without being shown how every time, let alone change their own engine oil. This is indicative of failed liberal (sorry guys, couldn't come up with a better word) ideology (i.e., 'if it's broke, simply throw more and more and more $ at it'). When one can go to Canada and make $30+/hr turning a couple of bolts or snapping in a piece of plastic, and the guy who HAS TO FIX THEIR SCREWUP makes 1/2 of that (if you're lucky), now THERE is a problem. Bush 43 should haver hired Gov. Romney as the car-czar. He would've simply cannibalized the ol' General and started from scratch. OR, even better, realized what a basket-case GM is and liquidated it. Of course, that is how capitalism USED TO work. This concludes my heavily-biased UAW/CAW slam of the day...:)

  • Dwight Dwight on Jun 14, 2012

    So that is around $62000 per year based on 37.5 hour work week and 52 pays. Minus 20%-25% income tax plus Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance and labour fees for being in an union. Yes, it is a comfortable wage considering owning a home in Oshawa is less expensive than the metropolis just west of them. Then factor in how difficult the job is in relation to other manufacturing jobs on the market. Then factor in how important the job is (assembling cars or directing robots to help assemble cars -- I've never assembled a car before but have watched videos, looks rather boring from a job perspective) considering there are safety factors in the product that is being assembled so precision and quality are of high importance. I think what keeps the GM plant alive is the fact that our government keeps giving tax cuts and other monies to the manufacturer plus a good health care system (you can have a heart attack on the cheap in Ontario) so while GM probably wants to bail, their threats always go back to the gov't and they (we) throw more money at it. So in the end we pay more tax to keep jobs alive. And then we end up paying more to offset the tax/cost of living increases. Is assembling cars worth $32/hour? No.