UAW, I was waiting for someone to trot out the "above average" argument

This article contains more of GM honcho Mark Reuss’ comments than what the local media reported. According to the “news” last night, it sounded like GM was going to spend more than their net profit on this huge increase in CAPEX, so there is nothing left for the workers.

In this article, Reuss says, over the last 10 years, GM has already spent more than their net income on CAPEX (without noting that, in spite of that spending, there was plenty of money for the honchos)

Reuss also complains that GM union workers make above average pay. Is everyone supposed to be paid “below average”, except the “JCs”?

“Those record profits are reinvested in our company and our people. In 2022, GM had net income profits of $9.9 billion. In 2023, our capital spending will be $11-$12 billion. That’s not an aberration ― over the past ten years, our net income totaled $65 billion, and the amount we invested in that same period? $77 billion,” says Reuss.

“About 85% of current represented employees would earn a base wage of approximately $82,000 a year. In contrast, the average median household income in nine areas where GM has major assembly plants is $51,821. And total compensation for the 85% of the workforce, with overtime and benefits, would be more than $150,000 a year,” says Reuss.

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It’s totally a trope of management. They should be quoting skilled labor pricing, not average. But hey, why go with the higher number when the lower number helps your case?


LOL !! They should have invested $150+B. So why did they NOT? Or did the “excess” go to management? If you gotta guess…

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Of course. The intent is to build resentment against union workers by those who are below the fat part of the curve.

A former coworker of mine, whose husband was a union carpenter, had a good bumper sticker on her car:

“fight for your own pay and benefits, instead of taking other’s away”.



Well, Ford does not crap all over the public about any of this from what I have seen so far.

The UAW president is saying Ford is negotiating in good faith and getting close to a deal.

I do not care if GM is gone tomorrow. The management keeps sabotaging everything they touch. Yes, $10 billion in profits…and the EV sector is running away from them. The profits of tomorrow are not within their reach. It is highly irresponsible and nothing new out of GM.

Two generations of younger consumers are watching all of this. It just looks like cheating the workers.

I note that when the Board is deciding how much to pay the CEO, the refrain is always “But his pay is below average”.

Funny how that works.


That seems to be the take-away right now. The Canadian union tagged Ford as it’s strike target, but reached a tentative agreement on the eve of the strike deadline.

So now, no additional pressure on Ford, while putting the binders on GM and Strabismus harder. Might have something to do with the struck plant’s importance to the companies. Wayne aka Michigan, Assembly makes the Bronco and Ranger. The Strabismus plant in Toledo that is struck makes the Wrangler and Gladiator. When the strike started, the media reported that Ford’s inventory of Broncos and Rangers was very thin, on the order of 40 days. On the other hand, Strabismus has Wranglers and Gladiators coming out it’s ears, something over 100 days inventory. Automakers usually regard 60 days of inventory as optimal.

I’m not so sure of the wisdom of the second stage of the strike. The union is striking parts distribution centers. Service parts are usually much more profitable for the company than selling new cars, but cutting off service parts availability will hurt people who already have cars, and can’t get repair parts for them. The optics will probably not work out to the union’s benefit, as most people can put off buying a new car for a few months, unless they are staring at a lease end, but the person who can’t get to work, because the shop can’t get a new water pump for their Chevy, is going to be pretty mad at the union for disrupting their life.


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During the supply side period, the strikers faced a disapproving public.

That is not at all true today. The main consumers under the age of 50 won’t put up with cheap companies. That is a very big problem for GM.

What happened this article asks? This is easy to field without reading a second or third rate reporter. The people of the United Staters were offered a tax cut. What then happened was the pay was cut, the pensions were cut, some of the healthcare expense was shared. Rinse and repeat over and over again while layoffs happened.

Why? Well the spoiled brats of the world at GM needed a tax cut. Mary Berra has her tax cut.

The support in the US for a tax cut is idiotic.

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Both the Detroit Three and the UAW have a lot at stake from federal policy decisions. The automakers are counting on Washington for billions in subsidies for electric vehicle production. They are negotiating with the Biden administration over future emissions rules that require a shift to EVs that the industry believes would be too fast and too expensive.


Krugman’s column today answers it too. Unions, or lack thereof, that’s what happened.

The link is gifted, available to everyone. The short version is this: From the New Deal to Reagan manufacturing was 1) important and 2) unionized.

Then it became less important, and unions were, if not destroyed, terribly hobbled.

A story in pictures:

The reality is manufacturing is a far smaller part of our economy than it used to be, and, to coin a phrase, “it’s never going to be great again.”


The end of that is completely wrong.

They do tell us there is lots of reshoring going on. Maybe that means Mexico or somewhere. And while I notice that 3 of 4 cars these days are foreign brands, most are assembled in USA (or Canada or Mexico).

Too much went to China. Now some is coming back. Maybe a step in the right direction. But worker shortages (declining birth rate) give us a trend toward more automation.

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Too nice to stay home today, so I motored over to Greenfield Village.

Driving down Michigan Ave, I passed Ford Wayne Assembly. I gave the pickets a beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeep from my horn. Wonder if any of them know Morse?


Beethoven’s 5th symphony as well.

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