Will GM and Chrysler's White Collar Bonuses Draw UAW Ire?

Bloomberg reports

GM plans to pay bonuses to most managers equal to 15 percent to 20 percent of their annual salary and as high as 50 percent to less than 1 percent of its 26,000 U.S. salaried employees, said one of the people, who asked not to be named revealing internal plans. Bonuses for Chrysler’s 10,755 salaried workers will average about $10,000, with a small group getting as much as half of their salary, one of the people said.

And with GM and Chrysler heading into contract negotiations with the UAW, this is not going to be winning the manufacturers many friends among the union.

“The union is going to be very angry about this,” Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, said in an interview yesterday. “If these kinds of bonuses are paid to salaried workers, then the union’s demands will increase, knowing management can’t claim an inability to pay.”

But wait, isn’t GM giving hourly workers the biggest bonuses in company history? What’s going on here?

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That has to be a strategy of the UAW to gradually get out of the two-tiered system. I don’t know if it can happen overnight, but they’ve got to start sending signals to future employees that the low, tiered wages are not something that can sustain families long term

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UAW Recruits Activists For Transplant Assault

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Transplant workers in the South will want to be part of this “winning team,” King said.

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Frustrated by their temporary status, auto workers at a Hyundai Motor Co.mpany plant in Ulsan, South Korea, declared a strike on Nov. 15, and one desperate worker set himself on fire in protest of the company’s refusal to offer secure jobs. About 500 workers have since led an occupation of various plants in the Hyundai compound… To anyone interested in workplace fairness, the resolution of the Ulsan Hyundai workers’ strike is critical. It could either speed up progress toward ensuring global living wages, or provide a green light on the race to the bottom the auto industry began years ago – — with Toyota and Hyundai getting a head start.

One must, however, point out that the UAW has made its fair share of contributions to recent declines in auto worker wages. After all, it forced nearly half of GM’s Orion Assembly plant workforce to take a 40 percent wage cut in order to build a politically-popular fuel-efficient subcompact (the next-gen Aveo) in the US. Not only did this represent an unconscionable screwing of its own union “brothers” but it also directly hurts the Korean workers the UAW now so self-righteously defends by by stealing jobs using the very same “race to the bottom” that it decries. Besides, the labor situation in Korea is a bit more complex than the UAW’s Manichean moralizing makes it out to be…

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Flush From GM's IPO, UAW Targeting New VW Plant

GM’s stock may be hovering near its IPO price of $3/share, but the UAW doesn’t need much more growth to cash out with every penny it wanted from GM. The UAW’s VEBA account has banked $3.4b in stock sales so far, and Forbes reports

The VEBA will break even on its investment if it can sell the remaining 206 million shares at an average price of $36.96.

Taxpayers, meanwhile, need GM’s stock to top at least $52/share in order to break even on the bailout that it funded. Because it’s just not a bailout unless the least deserving benefit the most. Meanwhile, with its accounts once again flush with cash, the UAW is turning South in hopes of accomplishing what it has never accomplished before: unionizing at ransplant auto factory in a right-to-work, Southern state.

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UAW Boss: "People Want To Reward Our Members"

Let me say this as clear as I can, I do not think there will be any concessions in 2011. People want to reward our members and it will be a key component of the 2011 bargaining. When the industry comes back, just like we’re sharing in the downside we’re going to share in the upside. That’s a key foundation of what we’re doing in 2011.

UAW President Bob King gives his best “we will fight them on the beaches” impression, telling Reuters that his union has sacrificed enough, thanks. And though the people who want to reward UAW members are notably absent from public debate, that assertion wasn’t nearly as double-take-worthy as King’s opinion that

There’s no competitive gap between Ford, GM and Chrysler right now


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  • Fred As a British Car Fan I liked them, but then I sat in one and changed my mind. I like the unique looks of the newer ones.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.