Paid How Much?!? ((Updated))

I was shocked the other evening when I caught a little snip-it of the evening news. They were talking about the auto bailout failing. They said that the union did not agree to the terms. That was not the shocking part. The shocking part was that next they said that the average UAW member makes $75 an hour! I was truly shocked. This dollar amount does include benefits but even if you take it out (or add in benefits to other hourly rates) it is still way above what I would assume a blue collar job would pay.

In fact, I did the math and that is a lot higher then what the Mr. makes and what I made when I left my career. This is very disappointing since he has an engineering degree and my job required a master's degree. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind if we others make more then us. However, if it is a position that only requires a high school education and is on a factory line I don't feel like they should be earning more then other professional positions.

What really bothers me even more then that is that it seems like the UAW is not willing to cut back wages and/or benefits. Is it really wise to make everyone lose their jobs rather then to cut back your income to, say, what a teacher makes? What if they had the same benefits as a teacher? When the factory closes over the holidays do the workers not get paid like teachers?

Why do UAW members deserve more then teachers? Do you think that the UAW was being selfish for not working with the other groups to get a bailout approved?

The White House has brought Christmas early for 2 of the Big 3 - to the tune of 17.4 millio dollars. But there are strings attached, one of which requires them to bring labor costs in-line with that of their competitors. This is something that Ron Gettlefinger and the UAW take issue with. Heck, this is the exact stipulation that caused them to kill the Senate bailout package.

Would it be so terrible to make a rasonable wage with reasonable benefits?


Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the 75$ an hour figure was calculated from from the total of all disbursements made to active and retired UAW members, divided by the number of active UAW employees. If this is true, then the actual pay rate is considerably less than what they're saying and the 75$-an-hour statement is disingenuous, to say the least. You might want to look into how this number was arrived at.

Mr. (not) the Jet Set said...

No, not disingenuous. The $75 number does include pay and benefits for hourly workers - not retirees. Some think it is wrong to include benefits, but when benefits are unusually high, then it becomes quite relevant and gives a much more ccurate picture of what the workers recieve as well as what these workers cost automakers.

Even if that number does include retirees, how is that disingenuous? That is the average number that a UAW member costs GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Comparing that vs their foreign competitors pay for line workers - who work in this country - shows very clearly how difficult it is to compete.

Even if you look at only the UAW hourly base rates, it's quite high when compared to that of a collge professor

Mr. GoTo said...

Now you know why the UAW waited out Congress on its bailout so that it could get this money instead. Targets mean nothing.

Fern Greene said...

My husband earns more than $75 an hour - with two advanced degrees, and a workweek that nearly always bleeds well over the regular 40 hours. I've never earned anywhere NEAR $75 an hour with a graduate degree in my field. So yeah - it strikes me as a huge number.

I think the problem is that, once upon a time, it was reasonable to expect to live well on a blue collar income. My grandfather supported five kids working in a steel mill with a high school education. They weren't wealthy, but there was plenty - not just for food and clothes, but for a modest summer vacation, birthday gifts, etc.

What UAW members have isn't consistent with our current reality, and it is definitely damaging the Big Three's ability to compete. But I'm equally concerned about the number of men and women working full-time - and earning WAY less than it takes to raise a family.

I agree with you - a reasonable wage is, well, reasonable. And yet, I don't know a soul who makes one. It feels like we live in a country where every one represents an extreme and the middle is missing.

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