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Do Auto Execs Make Too Much Money?

When Ford CEO Alan Mulally was granted $56 million in stock bonuses about a month ago, UAW President Bob King was quoted as saying “I don’t think any human being deserves that kind of money.” Whether you agree or disagree with Bob King’s statement, his sentiments tap into a fairly popular belief in modern America. Many people question the compensation of the average corporate executive, and trends in executive pay indicate that the phenomenon is more prominent than ever…the average Fortune 500 CEO earned 343 times the amount that an average worker earned in 2010.

The question of executive pay in the auto industry is especially important today, as the UAW is eager to negotiate a new contract to replace the one that expires later this year. While automakers want workers to accept profit-sharing bonuses in place of pay raises, the UAW says cutting executive pay would save enough money to give workers a pay raise.

Which side is right? Should workers be happy with a bonus tied to profits while executives earn millions?

The UAW Will Forever Handicap Ford, GM, and Chrysler

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) are not an homogeneous group. Most are conscientious, hard-working, and fine examples of everything that’s right with American manufacturing. This post will discuss unreasonable wage demands and video of UAW members drinking and smoking marijuana during their lunch hour, but it is in no way meant to slander the UAW’s hard-working majority. The issue isn’t the average autoworker – it’s the system that the UAW has created.

UAW Recruits Toyota’s Georgetown Workers In Odd Ways

Earlier this week, a Toyota factory worker from Kentucky contacted us to share a link to According to this website’s about page it was created by some current employees at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky (known as TMMK in Toyota circles) who aren’t too happy with UAW efforts to unionize their plant.

Camry being welded at Toyota plant in Kentucky

TMMK currently builds the Camry, Avalon, and Venza

Operating since 1986, TMMK is one of Toyota’s oldest US facilities, as well as Toyota’s largest plant outside Japan. TMMK employs about 6,500 workers and builds 500,000 vehicles each year. Mostly, these vehicles are Camrys, but TMMK also builds the Avalon and the Venza. Arguably, TMMK is Toyota’s most important plant in the United States…which is one of the reasons the UAW has tried to take over the plant for the last 20+ years.

80% of NUMMI Workers Upset With The UAW

We got a tip last week from a NUMMI employee who is hoping mad with the UAW. It turns out that there are quite a few NUMMI workers who are upset by the fact that the UAW was protesting against Toyota’s decision to close NUMMI. In an open letter to Sergio Santos (President of the UAW Local 2244), one NUMMI worker said the following:

I find myself taken aback by the union’s behavior in recent months. Your continued efforts to petition Toyota to keep NUMMI open are not only futile, but it has angered the membership at large who feel that asking Toyota to keep the plant open at this point is a waste of time and money

Another NUMMI worker wrote an open letter to UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, demanding that the UAW stop trying to politicize NUMMI’s closure and start working on an exit package for NUMMI workers:

The UAW is Poised For Growth – Are Toyota, Honda, and Nissan Ready?

For years, casual observers of the auto industry were quick to point to the UAW as a source of trouble for GM, Chrysler, and Ford. Tales of do-nothing jobs banks and $70/hour compensation were the source of a popular disdain for the UAW and unions in general, and the UAW found it very difficult to attract new members in this climate.

Today, things are quite a bit different. While it says here that the UAW wasn’t perfect, anyone with a real knowledge of the auto industry will acknowledge that the UAW deserves only a part of the blame for the meltdown of GM and Chrysler. The fact is, terrible management, poor quality, and poor designs were the primary sources of GM and Chrysler failure.

Bowling Green, KY UAW Hall
Creative Commons License photo credit: millermz

The UAW hall in Bowling Green, Kentucky (pictured) might be the most important union battleground of the 21st century.

The good news for the UAW is that all of this is behind them now. The UAW is now more likely than ever to recruit Toyota, Honda, and Nissan workers over the next 2 to 5 years. Here’s why: