GM strike

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Jun 26 12:09:31 PDT 1998

Nathan Newman wrote:

>I am always suspicious when I see a number like this, because the people
>usually making that much are usually 30-year veterans working overtime.
>It is true that many UAW folks make solid incomes; maids in hotels make
>less, airline pilots make more. So what? Why shouldn't folks working in
>a hard, sometimes tedious job make a good income, especially when the
>company makes billions in profit each year.
>We should be fighting for all workers to make as much as a UAW worker.

And while we're at it, let's make everyone earn above average too!

The average hourly wage - excluding fringes - for a production worker in "motor vehicles and car bodies" was $22.59 in March. That's nearly twice the private sector average of $12.66. If you divide U.S. GDP of $8 trillion by 125 million workers, and then divide that by 52 and then 40, you get $30.80 as hourly GDP per worker. So bringing everyone up to autoworker pay would be impossible. And what about Mexicans and Botswanans? Do they get UAW pay too?

>The sad thing is that people are supposed to celebrate an economy where a
>kid with a college degree can step out and make $50,000 his first year in
>the job market, then turn around and begrudge an autoworker for making
>that much after decades in the job.

Most kids don't make $50k straight out of college. Check out the articles in the Monthly Labor Review for Feburary on how 20-somethings are doing in the job market <>.

>How much is General Motors paying their executives, engineering staff, and
>advertising staff? I bet their salaries have gone up much faster than the
>lineworkers and parts subcontractors.

Well no shit, Nathan, but do you really think the UAW is about to question the class structure of American capitalism? The UAW is one of the dumbest unions around. They've got no strategy, no vision, no politics. It pains me that I pay them dues (National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981).


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