(ThyBlackMan.com) A minimum of 12,700 United Auto Staff Union (UAW) staff have walked out within the first strike wave in opposition to the Huge Three automakers – GM, Ford, and Stellantis (the corporate that took over Chrysler).
Each employee in America – union and non-union, younger and previous, feminine and male, Black, brown and white – has a stake on this strike. At subject will not be merely whether or not autoworkers can achieve a residing wage, however whether or not this nation can start to rebuild a center class and curb the acute inequality that undermines our financial system and our democracy.
The businesses paint the employee calls for as excessive, at the same time as the employees search merely to get a elevate that displays the businesses’ efficiency in recent times.
Think about from 2013 to 2022 the businesses earned $250 billion in income, up 92 p.c over that time frame. The typical pay of their CEOs – final 12 months every pocketed a median $25 million – is up 40 p.c. Final 12 months alone, the businesses ladled out $9 billion in inventory buybacks – rewarding shareholders however not staff.
In the meantime, common autoworker pay, adjusted for inflation, is down almost 20 p.c. Mary Barra, the CEO of Basic Motors, made $29 million final 12 months, roughly $14,500 an hour. The beginning wage of an autoworker now’s $17 an hour.
This astounding inequity has unfold throughout the financial system. The Financial Coverage Institute reviews that over the past 45 years, adjusting for inflation, CEO compensation in America’s 300 largest firms has risen 1,460 p.c whereas a typical employee’s pay grew by simply 18 p.c.
The auto executives, nevertheless, have loved particular support from the federal government. In 2008, GM and Chrysler nearly went bankrupt and have been bailed out with some $80 billion in taxpayers’ cash. Staff made deep sacrifices to maintain the businesses going – a wage freeze, an finish of cost-of-living raises, a decrease paid tier for brand new staff, weaker pension and well being care protections. They haven’t acquired a cost-of-living elevate since 2009, although client costs are up 40 p.c.
Now, with the businesses raking in file income and the CEOs pocketing file salaries, staff are asking for his or her fair proportion. They search wage will increase on par with these of the executives, an finish to the two-tier labor system that discriminates in opposition to new staff, a shorter workweek and an finish to using temps to undermine full-time staff. They need staff to be rewarded when the corporate points inventory buybacks or particular dividends to reward stockholders.
Central to the dispute can also be what’s going to occur as the businesses once more obtain large authorities subsidies, this time to speed up the transition to electrical automobiles. The businesses have began constructing crops in anti-union crimson states, clearly hoping to make use of the transition and taxpayer subsidies to weaken staff and their unions. The union seeks protections so staff and their unions will profit from the taxpayer subsidies, not simply firms and their shareholders.
Will taxpayer subsidies assist construct a inexperienced financial system that empowers staff to realize a fair proportion of the income they assist to provide? Or will the subsidies add to the acute inequality already weakening our society and financial system? Will they assist construct a broader center class or deprive extra staff of a residing wage?
From Hollywood to fast-food staff to the autoworkers within the Midwest, staff are lastly standing up. As soon as extra the query is posed: Whose aspect are you on?
A shocking 75 p.c of People aspect with the UAW of their negotiations and strike. President Joe Biden has praised the autoworkers. Sen. Bernie Sanders stood with the autoworkers on the primary day of their strike. Donald Trump tells them they need to cease paying union dues and oppose constructing electrical automobiles – presumably throwing themselves on the tender mercies of the auto CEOs.
The media tends to give attention to whether or not the strike, if it continues, shall be unhealthy for the financial system. However the financial system will not be divorced from staff. It’s unhealthy for the financial system when autoworkers can’t afford to purchase the vehicles that they construct. It’s unhealthy for the financial system when autoworkers are paid lower than they made 15 years in the past. It’s unhealthy for the financial system when full-time staff don’t have an honest retirement or can’t afford well being care.
File auto firm income haven’t helped staff. Taxpayer bailouts haven’t helped. Staff misplaced floor below Obama and below Trump. Rich CEOs don’t instantly grow to be beneficiant. Staff will get a good deal provided that they combat for it. The UAW has determined to combat – and all of us have a stake of their victory.
Written by Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Official web site; http://twitter.com/revjjackson