Detroit’s three big automakers failed to negotiate a new contract with the United Auto Workers Thursday night, triggering a targeted strike that could spread if a deal isn’t reached. General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, which operates Chrysler and Jeep, are now facing an unprecedented “Stand Up Strike,” which the UAW says is a new strategy to striking, with the potential of more workers walking off the job over time if demands are not met. The conflict between the companies and workers centers on profit-sharing and the union’s demand for a 36% pay increase across a new four-year contract.
To put this into perspective, NPR reports that filings of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reveal that General Motors CEO Mary Barra made 362 times more than the median worker at her company. Ford CEO Jim Farley made 281 times more than his company’s median worker, and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares made 365 times more. At the same time, since 2008, adjusting for inflation, auto workers’ wages have decreased 19.3%.
On Friday, CNN asked Barra to defend her company’s position that workers’ demands were too high, and she gave one of the biggest nothing answers in the history of nothing answers. Barra, after being reminded that she has seen a 34% increase in her salary, claimed that 92% of her compensation is based on “performance of the company.” In the same breath, she went on to say that somehow a 20% increase for workers, along with “profit-sharing,” amounted to a fair deal. “So when the company does well, everyone does well,” she added.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs for the top 350 U.S. firms made about 20 times more than their typical worker in 1965. Between 1978 and 2021, CEO pay has increased 1,460% while typical workers’ wages have increased just 18.1%. You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist to understand this isn’t a workable model.
Sign your name in solidarity with United Auto Workers.
Kerry talks with Drew Linzer, director of the online polling company Civiqs. Drew tells us what the polls say about voters’ feelings toward President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and what the results would be if the two men were to, say … run against each other for president in 2024. Oh yeah, Drew polled to find out who thinks Donald Trump is guilty of the crimes he’s been indicted for, and whether or not he should see the inside of a jail cell.