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.
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