Here we go again. The United Auto Workers walked out on American Axle yesterday amid a dispute over wages and benefits. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement that the company wants to cut pay from $23 an hour to $14. The company also wants to cut retirement benefits from a defined pension plan to a 401(K). We’ve seen this play out at parts makers Delphi Corp. and Dana Corp already, not to mention for new hires in certain Big Three auto plant jobs.
In other words, compensation for factory work is headed toward, say, being a barista at Starbucks. I don’t like it any better than anyone else. We’re talking about just one more example where middle class wages are being slashed under the threat of moving the work to Mexico or other low-wage countries. It’s not good for the families getting hit by the cuts, nor does it help the businesses trying to sell them anything.