By on March 26, 2015

UAW Wages

During his speech at the 2015 UAW Bargaining Convention in Detroit, president Dennis Williams proclaimed that the time for sacrifice and tiers are over.

According to Automotive News, Williams stated before the 900-strong delegates inside Cobo Center that the UAW’s goal was to “raise everybody up and bridge the gap” between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees in the union’s upcoming contract talks with the Detroit Three: FCA US, Ford and General Motors.

Not only did he vow to roll back Tier 2 toward Tier 1, he had this to say about Ford’s and GM’s desire to create a third tier for lower-skilled employees:

We’ve got too many damn tiers now!

Though preventing a Tier 3 from occurring could be a possibility, bringing Tier 2 on par with Tier 1 may prove difficult for Williams and the UAW.

Established in 2007 as a temporary measure to help the Detroit Three weather the storm of the oncoming Great Recession, the two-tier wage system is now firmly entrenched among the trio, with FCA holding the most Tier 2 employees at 42 percent of its workforce. Around 33,000 employees hired since the middle of 2011 are Tier 2, making up 29 percent of the overall Detroit Three’s 137,000 employees.

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13 Comments on “Williams: UAW Vows To ‘Bridge The Gap’ Between The Tiers...”

  • avatar

    Regardless of any elimination of official tiers, there will continue to be tiers–they will just be workers in other countries. Car companies are only willing to spend so much on labor, and when they feel pinched, they will cut costs.

    I am very interested to see the UAW’s cost/benefit calculations comparing the benefit of increased wages to the losses of decreased job growth (or rather, displacing job growth to other markets). Given their decline over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised if they overvalue the now at the expense of the future.

  • avatar

    He looks pissed.

  • avatar

    While Bob King looked like the rather new school attorney he actually was, this guy is throwback. Love the pic.

    • 0 avatar

      C’mon, don’t you know that Bob King worked his way up to the presidency of the UAW starting on the factory floor? Okay, so it wasn’t a factory, it was a parts depot, about the cushiest job in the industry, and he got the job because his father was a Ford manager, and within three years he was getting paid by Ford to work for the UAW. Then he went to law school.

      Like James Hoffa Jr., a common man of the people, right? You think King knows how to use a torque wrench or that Hoffa Jr. holds a CDL?

    • 0 avatar

      The angry face/fist-shaking theater of negotiations between organized labor and management seems pretty lame in this day and age. After the angry face/fist-shaker finishes his speech he will go off-stage, put his tie and Rolex back on, be escorted down to his limousine by his personal security guards and be driven off to his private club to have a drink or two with some 1%’ers. I’m not against organized labor; it definitely has its place in the greater scheme of things. Setting the tone of negotiations with theatrics and harsh, confrontational words is ridiculous. Sure, management wants what they want (workers are a large cost of production) and they want to spend as few dollars as possible. This is not news to anyone. But what is the purpose of firing everyone up into a frenzy that carries over to the factory floor ahead of time and increases emotion and conflict between folks way down the food chain? It makes more sense to me for the union to set their negotiation agenda, present it during the negotiations and if they need to walk, walk. No need for theatrics, blustering or rousing up bad feelings. Perhaps the need is to keep the limo, Rolex and private club?

  • avatar

    @ Cameron A…This just the beginning of a long story. From this point on expect a lot of Sabre Rattling, and rhetoric, from both sides I’m sure that all the negative, haterade will follow, every piece you write.

    Your objective approach to the ignition switch story, was a breath of fresh air, as compared to the main stream press. I know you will cover this story, with the same objectivity. I will following it closely.

  • avatar

    How can the UAW expect to get higher wages when they are already at the top? Do they really want to start dragging down GM and Ford already at the first sign off recovery.

  • avatar

    Any progress made to bridge the gap between the two tiers will have to come directly or indirectly out of Tier 1. As it was before, it will be a hard sell to those members.

  • avatar

    dunno why they cant just start all new hires at tier 1, then when they reach top pay scale put them into tier 2 at a similar pay rate.

    they can also play around with the goal hours needed to move up a step. make the newbies sweat it out for 1000 (or whatever) goal hours between raises. that would weed out the people that cant hack assembly line work.

    topped out workers could be given bonuses instead of raises. there are a lot of options they could compromise on.

  • avatar

    Probably the BEST place to start rebuilding the middle class!
    If there is any hope…..

  • avatar

    The AFL-CIO put out a chart today purporting to illustrate the difference in annual income from work between the CEOs of the largest 350 companies listed on the S&P 500 (yes, by excluding 150 of those companies it probably skewed the results) and the average annual income (yes, they should ha ensued median rather than average) of the worker at that same company, and the ratio clocked in at 330 to 1.

    Like I said, I am a capitalist and believe free markets are best, while acknowledging mechanisms for market failure have to be put into place to prevent or compensate for serious, adverse externalities brought about by market failures..

    …but given the incredible, growing inequality growth in income now taking place, even I, as an avowed capitalist, but recognizing that market failure is real and common, and that regulatory & legislative capture is accelerating this massive inequality growth (IMO), recognize that…

    …Houston (and Manhattan, and Los Angeles, and Cincinnati, and Nashville, and Atlanta, and Anchorage, and Seattle, and Chicago, and Phoenix, and Tampa, and Omaha, and Des Moines, and Boston, and Augusta, and Concord, and Dallas, and Detroit, and St. Louis…)…

    …we have a fundamental, hard core problem.

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