How much do auto workers make per hour? Will they get paid while on strike?
One of the UAW’s key demands is an increase of pay similar to that seen by the CEOs of the companies they work for.
The United Automotive Workers (UAW) union has staged its first walkout with more than 13,000 staff. They are protesting sluggish pay increases as well as poor pensions and conditions for new workers while working for General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (Fiat Chrysler), the so-called ‘Detroit Three.’
He argues that automotive workers should be receiving a pay increase of 46% over a four-and-a-half period, increasing pay to $47 an hour from $32 currently. This would bump pay up to $97,760 over the space of a year. New workers are paid substantially less; 44% less when compared to veteran workers due to a tiered system that the strikes hope to abolish.
“If they’ve got money for Wall Street they sure as hell have money for the workers making the product,” UAW President Shawn Fain has said. “We fight for the good of the entire working class and the poor.”
The automotive companies argue that this figure is too high and have been offering increases of between 10% and 20%, far below the UAW demands. However, hundreds of billions of dollars in combined revenue would suggest the companies could pay a decent wage .
“They pretend the sky will fall if we get our fair share of the quarter of a trillion dollars the Big Three have made over the past decade,” President Fain said. “It’s the billionaire economy; that’s what they are worried about.”
The CEOs of the three companies had their pay increase by 40% from 2013 to 2022, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Will they get paid while on strike?
The nature of a strike means the workers will not get paid their salary; they won’t be working.
However, the UAW has set aside a strike fund of a purported $825 million. This will cover some of the striking workers’ pay to ensure the strike can continue.
The weekly strike assistance is $500 per week, $100 per day, Monday through Friday. This is double what was available during the union’s last strike in 2019 and is available after the eighth day of the strike. The Strike and Defense Fund covers certain benefits such as medical and prescription drugs.