Thu, July 18

Guest Commentary: Get the facts straight concerning the UAW auto workers' wages

There's been a flood of misleading information in the news media and on the Internet concerning the so called outrageous wages of the UAW autoworkers.

There are many mumblings around town concerning figures of $71 to as much as $80 per hour; Paul Lidbeck even stated on the Verde News blog that UAW "workers on the line have a wage of $71 per hour, plus benefits."

It appears to me that there may be a lot of jealously toward people that work hands-on jobs who are able to make a decent wage.

Admittedly, $28.71 per hour is a good wage by today's standards, but these line jobs are not something everyone would want to do.

These jobs are very repetitious and tedious non- rewarding in most cases. The American auto companies have a bad rap right now; putting out false or twisted information is not beneficial to our present economic condition.

I can understand that people could be upset thinking that these high school educated UAW workers are making $150K per year gross pay plus benefits.

Due to all the misleading information, I have supplied a recent pay stub from a Detroit area UAW worker with 35 years seniority.

The only UAW workers who make more per hour are the skilled trade workers; the skilled trade workers make only $1 more per hour then the line workers.

These posted wages are a far cry from the $71 per hour that has been reported. Most white collar engineering personnel don't even come close to the figures being tossed around by the media.

It actually seems that the media is intentionally sabotaging the American auto companies by not doing diligence in there reporting. I wonder how many people actually realize the implications of the American auto industry folding up. The implications are so much greater when observing the whole picture including the world economy. General Motors, for instance, has a great presence in Europe, China and many other parts of the world.

It has been very obvious lately how the entire world economy has been affected by the U.S. banking fiasco. At least one half of the difficulties the auto companies are experiencing now can be attributed to Wall Street's problems -- the companies cannot sell vehicles without available loans.

This loss from the lack of loans is enough to make it difficult to get over the financial bump.

The companies are only asking for a loan, not a handout like Wall Street has received. I believe that Wall Street is using the American auto companies for a scapegoat; trying to get the heat off of their backs.

I wonder if most who are opposed to the auto company bailout realize that the U.S. government will be paying for all of the retirees' pensions if the U.S. auto companies fold up or go bankrupt.

If they fold, pension money that is guaranteed by the government will come out of Main Street's pocket, which is everyone's pocket.

It would be a better economic solution to lend the money and save the jobs, not to mention the loss of the U.S. manufacturing base for the continuing protection of our borders. The U.S. needs a manufacturing base and cannot depend on outsourcing in the interest of national security.

I would like to add a bit of information for those who still talk about what GM did in the past.

GM just received the "Car of the Year" award in Europe, of all places. We all know just how proud the Europeans are of their own automotive products.

I constantly hear how much better these foreign vehicles are, yet GM surpassed them all this year. I believe that if we let our American auto companies down at this point, we will be missing one of our final chances to have anything made in the USA and forfeiting any chance to protect out borders in time of need for a U.S. manufacturing base.

Richard Fusinski is a resident of Cottonwood.