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Justin Fox

The Autoworker Pay Premium Disappears

They used to earn the juiciest wages. Those days are over.
A matter of life and death.

A matter of life and death.

Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

The United Auto Workers union has started negotiating a new labor agreement with Fiat Chrysler, which will serve as the template for deals with the other members of what’s now known as the Detroit Three. The old agreements, which date to 2011, were set to expire Monday at midnight but are being extended during the negotiations.

In olden times, before the Great Recession, UAW negotiations with the automakers were often occasion for oohing and aahing (or, if that was your thing, moaning and groaning) about what amazing pay and benefits autoworkers got. You don’t hear much of that anymore.