During a convention of UAW representatives on Tuesday, a drive to rally the union’s stand against the two-tiered salary structure at the Detroit Three ultimately crumbled, but the pay gap debate is far from over.
UAW officials and numerous local leaders are held up in Detroit this week and their meetings could essentially set the structure for the upcoming negotiation strategy during the summer’s contract talks with General Motors, Ford and FCA US. No less than 800 UAW representatives are talking about the points on a 72-page outline of the union’s memorandum of key targets for the negotiations. Today, the two-tier wage structure agreed by the UAW and Detroit’s Three back in 2007 has new hires starting at $15.78 an hour and then slowly climbing to a maximum of $19.28 per hour while the top segment of veteran workers get more than $28 an hour. So far, the stance perspiring from the UAW leadership’s draft resolution is seeking to “bridge the gap” between the two levels.
“The issue of equal work for equal pay and ending the two-tier wage and benefit relationship is something that we the delegates want to make abundantly clear coming out of this convention,” commented Bill Parker, a delegate and former president of the UAW Local 1700. The proposal ultimately did not meet enough votes to remain in discussion and instead the UAW resolution stands: “We must rethink entry-level (second-tier) compensation and overall wage and benefit structures so that everyone is on track to earn good wages.” UAW’s top officials, including President Dennis Williams, support the elimination process, but say they could need more than one occasion for bargaining to achieve the goal.