AD #1749 – BMW Debuts Compact Sedan Concept, GM’s Military Grade Fuel Cell, UAW Workers Make How Much?!

November 20th, 2015 at 11:48am

Runtime: 7:40

- BMW Debuts Compact Sedan Concept
- Volvo Teams with Microsoft
- GM Works to Make Fuel Cells Army Strong
- UAW Workers Make How Much?!
- Japanese Market Will Never Be the Same

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41 Comments to “AD #1749 – BMW Debuts Compact Sedan Concept, GM’s Military Grade Fuel Cell, UAW Workers Make How Much?!”

  1. GM Veteran Says:

    I think John’s story on the UAW compensation is right on. Rather than looking at how much more can we get, the workers should be thinking about how competitive are we with other auto-building markets and how competitive are we with the cost of robots that can now do almost any job on the production line. That is the true scope of their competitive landscape and their union isn’t doing them any favors by continually talking about getting more, more, more. One day they are going to wake up and wonder what happened to all of their jobs.

  2. geelongvic Says:

    The UAW membership continues its long march to irrelevance, continued initial job stagnation, and eventual,future job attrition. Obviously Blind Mice.

  3. XA351GT Says:

    It must be nice to make $57-58 @ hour and $120,000 in total compensation and do nothing ,but complain about money. Hey UAW ,wake up you make a lot more than the rest of us in manufacturing and many of us have more involved jobs than just installing lug nuts all day.

  4. XA351GT Says:

    When the Chinese crack the code on US safety and emissions standards it will be game over for the big dollar UAW jobs. When they flood the market with $ 8-10 K cars and SUVs and trucks . Better save all that money ,because you’ll need it.

  5. Warren Down Says:

    In the name of balanced reporting, we’re all waiting for the equally in-depth commentary on the wages of lower, middle and upper level auto executives…since you’ve only painted half the picture of wage & salary costs so far.

    I suspect the story of management wages is somewhere far in the future.

  6. GM Veteran Says:

    Hey John,
    Do you have compensation comparisons for Canada and Mexico in U.S. dollars? That might be an eye opener for many people.

    And how long do you think it will be before some UAW workers in right-to-work Michigan start to reconsider paying their dues? Instant pay raise!

  7. Jon M Says:

    You’re spot on, John. Probably the average person in any job doesn’t realize that that their TOTAL compensation includes benefits paid on their behalf. I’ve long said ONE (note the singular) of the problems with the so-called Big Three is, to put it simply, a sense of entitlement; a notion that everyone should be making a six figure salary, and that the Big Three should pay it because the union demands it. Obviously, the only lesson from the bailout seems to be that if the company runs out of cash, the Government MUST cover them. And what you have to say, John, is something few, if any, have the ears to hear.

  8. Buzzerd Says:

    Wages in a market like this are always a balancing act but why do we always look at wages as how come they make so much rather than how come they don’t make more. Why aren’t the southern workers saying ” hey WTF, why are we doing the same job for way less money”
    XA351- the workers hardly do ” nothing, but complain about money” they work hard for there wage and are an intrigal part of the companies success or failure, you can’t build yourself up by tearing others down.

  9. Buzzerd Says:

    @ Jon M – so are you aware of which companies got bailouts during the crash?

  10. HtG Says:

    Perhaps some of the disparity in comp can be explained by Alabama and South Carolina having lower costs of living, and that the workers in these transplants are younger because the jobs haven’t been there as long as those in Michigan.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their pay, some bankers excepted.

  11. W L Simpson Says:

    I was there when IAM greeded PanAM, EAL & National out of business.

    John L lewis of UMW was asked –Just what do you want , John ?—–”more”

    Toured Hyundai near Montgomery—A Country Club

  12. Chuck Grenci Says:

    While these jobs can be tedious and requires a fair amount of dexterity, they are far away from higher education driven jobs that don’t nearly match a lot of the time of what these jobs are commanding. I don’t profess to know what exactly is the correct wage for the work being done, but certainly, these numbers appear very high for what work is being performed. A fair median wage along with the current benefit package, and with the profit sharing feature, should be the option for compensation IMO.

  13. BobD Says:

    I’m a little curious about the source of the wage numbers… Are these true averages for all hourly employees or averages for the legacy workers at GM/Ford/FCA? I suspect the total compensation for the lower tiered workers at the Big Three are much more in line with the non-union competitors, not just in hourly wages, but also other benefits. With that said, GM/Ford/FCA are still currently at a disadvantage, because there are still a lot of legacy workers.

    It is unfortunate that the UAW has to extort their employers at each contract negotiation, but unfortunately, you can’t really trust the companies to do the right things either (I was an “unrepresented” salary employee for 27 years with GM and witnessed a lot of “take-a-ways” at management’s whims).

  14. Rob Says:

    The UAW need to remember it is a global market and as automakers push to commonize their manufacturing processes it will become very easy to move assembly lines to whatever country is advantagous at that time.
    If you dont think tarriffs work then why do you suppose Ford car production is moving out while truck production is moving back to the US?

    Its all about immediate gratification and they will negotiate for a big chunk of cash now and the hell with what that does down the road. Well until they realize the jobs are all gone.

  15. GM Veteran Says:

    For those working in the South in the newer auto plants, I believe those workers are looking at the wage they make compared to what else is available in their market in other occupations. The reality is that even though they make less than the UAW jobs in the north, they are among the highest paid labor jobs in their states. They realize it and are happy with their status. I think the UAW workers should do some similar competitiveness evaluation to realize just how well paid they are now.

  16. Sean McElroy Says:

    #5 – While not lower- and middle-level executives, we have covered upper-level pay in the past.

  17. HtG Says:

    What happens as more of the value content in a car is in the silicon hardware and software? Line workers will only be bolting that stuff together like kids in China. At that point I’d wonder what high paid assembly workers should make, but I think we’ll find out as the new SUV from Cadillac is going to be made in China, isn’t that right?

    The counter to this argument might be that there are bottleneck plants in the US which the union can strike. Which was it this time? I’ve forgotten. Wasn’t it a transmission plant in Kokomo?

    As I’ve said before, my understanding of auto wages is not strong. (doesn’t stop me from busting on dealers though, amirite?)

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ BobD: You bring up a valid point on the ‘take aways’.The UAW workers are paid very well for their work.Being greedy only moves jobs south of the border,until there is none here.Yet I see the need for the most part for a form of valid representation for the workers to PREVENT the take aways.Dare I say it,the workers need to use some common sense in their demands.

  19. Albemarle Says:

    History tells us that the sky is the limit. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Grab all you can while it’s being offered. We know that the government will not allow any of the Detroit 3 to fail. In a downturn some will lose jobs and others will have their wages frozen, but it will come back. Since most UAW workers are older, this is just playing the odds.
    In my opinion, there is no real loyalty between the workers and the companies they work for. The companies also have no loyalty to their workforce, so it’s an adversarial system. In that game, you go for it all because there is no reward to not do it.
    Too bad it couldn’t be otherwise.

  20. MJB Says:

    #5. Are these white-collar workers you refer to (required or even able to be) UAW members?

    #8. I hear you, Buzzard. But I think part of the angst toward some UAW workers is the since of entitlement that seems to keep them from (appearing to) realize how good they really do have it. They’ve got low-cost health care combined with wages that are much higher than average for unskilled labor (especially the ones who managed to get in the door straight from high-school back in the 60′s)

    Heck, I’ve got a masters degree and I still don’t get $18,000 in profit sharing each Christmas!

    Just sayin’, ya know…

  21. Lex Says:

    There is greed on both sides of the bargaining table. First by Management and Second by Labor.
    The problem is that the Federal Government bailed out 2 out of the Big 3 with no provisions to keep US plants open and Americans employed. If GM and FCA think they can build their vehicles cheaper in Mexico then so be it. But you had better not come crying back to Washington for another bailout! The American voting public will kick any elected official out of office who agrees to do so.

  22. MJB Says:

    #20 – addendum: I meant $8,000 in profit sharing.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The BMW employees should be pi$$ed, building extra pricey vehicles, and getting only about 2/3 the pay of Ford and GM workers.

  24. Rob Says:

    #23 Why should they be pi$$ed? Because BMW knows how to manage and operate smarter than Ford and GM? Because they are more likely going to have jobs long into the future? Because even if they are laid off they may find similarly paying jobs doing something else and not lose everything they own as a UAW worker will because they cant find work that pays that well anywhere else?

  25. XA351GT Says:

    Buzzerd ,really ? All you ever hear is threatening to strike. That is usually about wages and/or benefits. I’m not tearing anyone down, but trying to point out that many of us in manufacturing would love to get half of what they get. Many of those jobs really don’t require a ton of acquired skill to do.

  26. Rob Says:

    #19 Your right that there isnt any loyalty anymore. The days of going to work for a company at 19 and eventually retiring from that same company has become a rarity. When things get tough companies “downsize” showing their concern for employees. So in-turn the employees have no problem putting the screws to them when things are good. Cause who knows if you’ll be kept when the next downturn comes around. Its a horrible cycle that was created by management that was ran by accountants. People are numbers.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 You have a point, if there really is good long-term job security at the BMW SC plant. It all depends on people continuing to buy expensive crossovers, which they build there.

    If they are laid off, most will have be lucky to find jobs paying as well as BMW, even though their pay is lower than Ford and GM.

  28. gary susie Says:

    remember when excutive pay was just 30 times the workers pay and now is 354 times workers pay. Just saying.

  29. MJB Says:


    Well, if it makes you feel any better about it, I believe most private sector and small to medium sized company executives pay still is in that x30 range.

    It’s the large corporations (HP, Exxon, Dell, Automotive, etc.) and the Wall Street financial alchemists whose pay is perhaps at that x354 tier.

  30. HtG Says:

    Shouldn’t executive pay be aligned with the interests of a company’s owners? These high pay multiples are the result of pay packages that reward profitability and rising share prices because execs get shares or options. It’s not like the company itself pays the money. Yet the headline is that ‘Alan Barra’ got paid an outrageous metric ton of money this year.

  31. Brett Says:

    It is sad to me that people are horrified by the compensation of members of the working class, but the compensation of the executives is admirable.

  32. Ziggy Says:

    Let’s not forget that the non-union workers don’t have to pay union dues, so that helps in keeping them closer to the UAW wages,as many people know, it’s not what you make but what you keep that counts.

  33. omegatalon Says:

    The US Army wants a Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is essentially flushing US tax-dollars down the toilet because on the battle field where does someone go to refuel as one would think the Army would want a fuel cell that used diesel which is a common fuel.

  34. HtG Says:

    off topic

    Go Kyle!

  35. John McElroy Says:

    #13. The hourly labor costs we cited are a blend of all UAW workers at each of the car companies we listed. Entry level workers make less than that average, skilled trade workers make more. The numbers were calculated by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I just heard that the Ford workers ratified the contract.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    GM also ratified.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 He went.

    They have quite an interesting system to pick a champion. Kyle would have been 20th if they just added up the points for the season.

  39. Allen Bryson Says:

    Now that we have compared Big 3 UAW represented workers wages to the transplants. When will you compare the Big 3 C.E.O compensation to transplant C.E.O.s.

    Or check executive pay at the big 3 from around 1978 to the present to the UAW represented employees. Who got the largest raises over that time period? And how much market share did those overpaid Executives gain or did they lose market share?

  40. dean929rr Says:

    Very interesting report on UAW compensation. Bare in mind I’m Salary not Hourly for one of these 3.

    While I understand the figures and don’t dispute them, something the public needs to understand as well though is perception. You see your hourly wage stay the same year after year you think you’re not getting a raise. They don’t fully grasp the other facets of their compensation, like the companies contribution to health care. They don’t see or maybe understand their “Total Compensation” only their hourly wage. Goes back to the Union leadership cascade/roll out that they should work on improving.

    Someone told me the other day, regarding the 2nd tier, you took this job understanding you were tier 2 and at a lower was with no progression plan to tier 1 pay. A plan is put in place to give you more money and you turn it down?

    Also, does anyone understand how close Ford was to striking? They were being called to Dearborn. If it hadn’t gone through, Saturday they’d have been on strike.

  41. Mitchell Says:

    Greed is a dangerous road to travel; not only for the workers but for the company as well. When GM or Ford charges as much or more for their vehicles than a premium brand like BMW due to that greed mentality from high wages and excessive bonuses they’ll be asking the government for another bailout which I’m not in favor of them getting. I know the cost of living in Detroit is high but come on, $50+ an hour is unreasonable and will at some point come back to bite them. Unemployment doesn’t have that much pay out as they could very well find out. Plus nearly every job on the production line can be done with robots. Again, at some point the high up front investment vs. UAW demands may lead the company to go down that road sooner than expected. And managers taking 6 figure bonuses doesn’t cut it either. Greed, pure greed all way around.