UAW: ‘Pay hasn’t caught up with inflation’

By Phoebe Wall Howard - Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — The UAW hourly worker strike against General Motors, with its debate over wages and health care benefits, spotlights the compensation received at the top and the bottom, which ranges from nearly $22 million per year to $15 per hour.

Executive pay

Mary Barra, 57, has been CEO of GM since 2014. She earned a salary of about $2.1 million in 2018. Her total package, which includes stock and performance awards, brought her compensation to $21.87 million, according to GM documents. The CEO compensation at GM was 281 times that of the median company employee in the U.S. of about $77,849.

Jim Hackett, 65, has been CEO of Ford Motor Co. since 2017. He earned a salary of about $1.8 million in 2018. His total package with stock and performance awards brought the total compensation to $17.8 million, according to an updated Ford proxy statement. The CEO compensation at Ford was 276 times the median compensation for U.S. employees at about $64,316.

Mike Manley, 55, has been CEO of Fiat Chrysler since 2018 after the unexpected death of Sergio Marchionne. The financial data is split and hard to compare based on the midyear transition. He earned base pay of $680,434 for the six months he served in the CEO role, based on euro-to-dollar rates. He was scheduled to get a $367,000 bonus paid out this year based on his performance in 2018. The company said he has the potential to make up to $14 million in compensation in 2019 if he meets performance targets, according to regulatory filings.

Akio Toyoda, 63, had a pay package of about $3.6 million in fiscal 2018, based on a June 2019 report in The Japan Times. The highest-paid executive at Toyota is the chief competitive officer, a Frenchman named Didier Leroy, with compensation of about $9.7 million for the period ending in March 2019. He left Renault to join Toyota in 1998. Asian CEOs tend to be paid far less than their counterparts globally.

Herbert Diess, 60, has been chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche since 2018, and head of the Volkswagen brand globally since 2015. He earned a salary of about $1.9 million in 2018. His total compensation package was valued at about $8.5 million, according to the company’s annual report. Volkswagen was the largest automaker in the world in 2018.

UAW worker: Top pay for a factory assembler working 40 hours a week would be $65,000, according to UAW records. In addition in 2018, FCA paid an average of $6,000 in profit sharing, Ford paid $7,600 in profit sharing and GM paid $10,750.

$30 vs. $33.77

A typical UAW assembler earned about $28 per hour in 2009, according to UAW records. If that wage had kept pace with inflation, an assembly worker would be making $33.77 instead of $30 in 2019, according to UAW records.

“The fact of the matter is, auto assembly pay hasn’t caught up with inflation — primarily because of the sacrifices UAW members made to take GM from bankruptcy to profitability,” said a UAW source close to the negotiations.

GM has said its average hourly worker earns around $90,000 in wages, overtime and profit sharing. But the only workers who can reach that level are skilled trades, about 15% of the workforce, the UAW said. In-progression and temp workers earn much less.

Permanent UAW workers also have extremely low health care costs, paying about 3% of their care versus about 28% for the average U.S. worker.

UAW picketers say they are fighting for many issues, including equal pay for equal work, and that means addressing the needs of about 12,300 temporary workers within the 150,000 or so negotiating a four-year contract right now. Here’s a snapshot of wages:

Temporary workers’ wages: $15-$19 per hour.

A newly hired permanent production worker, called “in progression,” makes about $17 an hour, which can rise to $28 an hour after eight years.

A legacy worker, one hired before 2007, earns $28-$33 an hour.

A skilled trades worker such as an electrician, plumber or machine repairman, about 15% of the Detroit Three’s workforce, is closer to $35 to $36 an hour. They often earn overtime.

Profit sharing: Temps get nothing. North American permanent hourly workers get, generally, $1,000 per every $1 billion an automaker makes in annual pretax profit.

Temp workers pay more for health care for less coverage than permanent workers. They pay more out of pocket expenses, such as deductibles. They get no supplemental pay during layoffs and plant retooling. They get no retirement pay.

Making cuts to support GM

Sources close to the negotiations told the Free Press that GM currently employs roughly 15% skilled trades, 35% in-progression, 40% traditional and 5-10% temps, depending on the season.

Workers picketing for more than a week in Flint say this fight is about a good-faith agreement between workers and GM, when workers made concessions during the Great Recession on the belief that they would be rewarded when the company returned to profitability.

UAW workers say their notable concessions in 2009 included: •• Elimination of cost-of-living adjustments and performance bonuses.

• Less break time.

• Less paid time off.

• Fewer protections during layoffs.

• Expanded use of temporary employees.

• Agreeing not to strike until 2015.

• No company medical benefits for retirees hired after 2015.

• Hourly workers hired after October 2008 have a 401(k) instead of a defined benefit pension.

By Phoebe Wall Howard

Detroit Free Press

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