The United Auto Workers union announced Monday that they will be pushing for wage increases at several major automaker plants.
United Auto Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams said that during contact talks next year, he will be pushing for a wage increases for both new and senior workers at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“In the Big Three, what we consider legacy employees have not had a general wage increase for many years and we will be addressing that,” Williams told reporters during a press conference call.
According to Bloomberg, the push for higher pay is to address senior employees’ wage stagnation as a result of an earlier contract. Back in 2007, the UAW agreed to lower wages for starting workers at about half of the full wage of $28 an hour. Since that time, as entry-level pay has risen, pay for senior workers has remained unchanged.
Williams also told reporters he wants to close the wage gap between new and senior employees but that he also understands how important being competitive is.
“Wages certainly are a major issue in bargaining,” Williams said during the press conference. “I often listen to companies talking about being competitive. The only thing they talk about in public is doing it on the backs of workers.”
Bill Dirksen, Ford’s vice president of labor, told the Detroit Free Press, “Ford needs to be competitive in all aspects of our business, including labor costs, so that we can continue to invest in our U.S. plants and create jobs.”
“Ford agrees that we need to have a fair and competitive labor agreement. We are open to discussing with our UAW partners the best way to do that,” Dirksen added.
Ford and GM both said they are confident they will be able to work with the union next year.
“We have a strong track record of creative problem-solving and are committed to working with our union partners to enable long-term success for the business and our employees,” GM said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press.
“Ford has a longstanding history of working collaboratively with the UAW, which has helped us to add more than 14,000 U.S. hourly manufacturing jobs and invest more than $6.2 billion in our U.S. manufacturing facilities since 2011,” Kristina Adamski, a spokeswoman for Ford, told Bloomberg.
General Motors and Chrysler were bailed out by the federal government between 2008 and 2009. James Sherk of the conservative Heritage Foundation told Congress in 2013 that taxpayers were subsidizing union compensation.
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