Thousands of members of the United Auto Workers officially went on strike, after the failure of three auto companies in Detroit. To reach an agreement with the union, which represents about 146,000 workers in the three largest American companies, by the deadline last Thursday night.
A specialized consulting company stated that if about 150,000 workers from the Auto Union union stopped working in the three major companies, this would lead to an economic loss of more than $5 billion after 10 days.
Workers’ wages are one of the main issues on the table. The union proposed a 40% hourly wage increase over the next four years, according to a report published by the American network CNBC, and viewed by Al Arabiya.net.
Finally, US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with heads of major auto industry groups to discuss the ongoing negotiations.
It is noteworthy that the wages of auto workers in the “Big Three” companies depend on a tiered system, which was introduced in the wake of the 2008 auto industry crisis, whereby newer hires start at lower wage rates than older workers.
Entry-level workers (hired in 2007 or earlier) earn an average of $33 an hour, CBS News reports, based on contract summaries for the Big Three companies. Lower-tier workers (those hired after 2007) earn up to $17 per hour.
The average auto worker in the United States working on a manufacturing production line earned about $28 an hour, as of last August, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s $1 more than the previous year.