I got this thrown at me as friendly banter by a contractor the other day: “heck, GM’s workers make $73 an hour; that’s why the company can’t compete. It’s all the union’s fault.”
It sounded like something Limbaugh or O’Reilly could’ve cooked up for the ignorant bobbleheads, but no, it’s not the usual wingnuts but an editorial in the NYT that’s got the facts all wrong this time. So, that’s $73 an hour including all benefits (health + pension) AND payments to existing pensions/retirees. The real number is more like $40 an hour or so — about what you’d ecpect for skilled labor, and on a par with non-union car manufacturers in the US. Top brass still gets a billion-gazillion a year plus bonuses plus corporate jets — that might have something to do with the dire straits that GM, Ford & Chrysler area in — or maybe, just maybe, it’s the shitty product they’re making that nobody in their right mind wants to buy?!? Go figure.
A local auto retailer (no linky — they’ve named themselves after a famous local Ivy League college) is currently running a pathetically lame ad on the radio asking people to buy their American made crap cars to “do your part for the economy.” Riiight. Like Mr. Yankee dropping $18K for a Chevy Shitcan XL is going to change the fact that the company is a dinosaur in desperate need of either a) euthenasia, or b) a radical management overhaul (as in, fire the idiots who got them into all this trouble). But the Unionized workers? It’s not their fault that they’ve been forced to build shitty cars, and it’s surely not the Union’s fault that GM agreed to pay them a decent salary and give them benefits that should be provided to all workers. With universal health care, the benefits package would be less of a point of contention for Unions, workers, and companies alike.