The North American auto industry is in dire straits. The economic situation is so difficult for them that they have been forced to go to their workers unions and ask for reductions in salary and benefits. In fact, these reductions are a condition of the U.S. federal government emergency loans. So it is with great relief that I have found in today’s news an update: Ford has managed to negotiate a reduction in the average hourly wage (including benefits) of their UAW employees down to the barely survivable level of $55 an hour.
Note that this is the *average* wage being earned, and includes benefits- I’m sure that many employees are struggling to make ends meet on little more than $60,000 a year before taxes. I’ve read that the CAW has also had to sacrifice things: for example, they now how to pay a staggering $30 a month towards their health care plans, and their guaranteed benefit pensions no longer have annual cost of living increases built in. With an unemployment level fast approaching 10%, it is astounding how deep these cuts have gone.
I am certainly glad these noble citizens, makers of fine automobiles with amazing levels of demand all over the world, are willing to give up so much to save the industry that employs them. I’m certain their efforts will be rewarded based on the outcome of the struggle for survival that the auto makers face today.