The headline may be a little misleading but the article is worth reading:
Union Workers at Big Three Automakers Average $73 an Hour
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor, CNSNews.com, Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Economists in Michigan, the long-time home of the auto industry, say they don’t support the proposed multi-billion dollar bailout of Big Three automakers Chrysler, GM and Ford.
One reason why, they say, is the ultra-high labor costs for union workers employed by the Big Three. It costs over $73 per hour on average to employ a union auto worker, according to University of Michigan at Flint economist Mark J. Perry.
“Is it right to tax the average worker making $28.50 to bailout workers whose labor cost is over $73 an hour?” Perry asked.
He explained that in 2006, widely available industry and Labor Department statistics placed the average labor cost for UAW-represented workers at the former DaimlerChrysler at $75.86 per hour. For Ford it was $70.51, he said, and for General Motors it was $73.26.
“That includes the hourly pay, plus the benefits they’re receiving and all the other costs to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, including legacy costs – retirement costs, pensions, and so on – so it’s looking at the total labor costs per hour worked for workers,” Perry said.
For U.S. workers at Toyota, however, the per hour labor cost is around $47.60, around $43 for Honda and around $42 for Nissan, Perry added, for an average of around $44.
“So we’re looking at somewhere around a $29 per hour pay gap between the Big Three and the foreign transplants that are producing cars in the United States,” Perry, chairman of the economics department, told CNSNews.com.
The average union worker at Chrysler, meanwhile, received 150 percent more in compensation than U.S. workers generally.
“Using Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the average compensation for manufacturing workers is around $31.50, and the average hourly compensation, including benefits, for the average worker in the U.S. economy is around $28.50,” Perry told CNSNews.com.
Bottom line: unless Chrysler, Ford and GM get a handle on their costs any government bailout is just going to delay the inevitable.