UAW's Bob King Says Detroit Big Three Should Keep Wages Steady, Try Profit Sharing
Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers, says Detroit's Big Three automotive manufacturers should keep base wages for assembly workers at their current levels, and should offer profit sharing programs for those workers. King told The Detroit News that keeping wages steady and sharing profits with workers would help guarantee the Big Three ensure future stability and better compete with foreign automakers.
King said that increasing base wages could make domestic workers less competitive with those from foreign automakers. Forcing automakers to increase pay now -- when the automotive sector still hasn't fully recovered from bankruptcies, financial crises, and falling sales -- could jeopardize their nascent recovery.
"The single most important thing to our membership is long-term security. People don't want a guillotine hanging over their head," King told the News.
Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors are all in the process of renegotiating four-year contracts with hourly UAW workers this year. The three automakers had previously said they might eschew traditional annual raise scales and instead offer bonuses for workers who meet certain quality or productivity goals. The companies are also reportedly favorable to profit sharing.
Both performance-based incentives and a profit-sharing scheme would mark a significant departure from the traditional large annual bonuses offered to hourly assembly workers. King said he believes these types of pay strategies could help assure the stability of the Detroit Three and guarantee jobs for UAW workers in the U.S. By ensuring a standard of living for American workers without raising base wages, domestic auto manufacturers could remain more competitive with foreign companies that build cars abroad.
Source: Detroit News