US: unions make a comeback as automakers have record profits image

After the dark years of the economic crisis are finally a fading memory and with the economy in great shape, the US labor movement is done avoiding at all costs the confrontations – with unions seeking compensation for the years of sacrifices.

Americans have noted that middle-class salaries are on halt while the rich are getting even richer, with union leaders now taking advantage of the latest tightening labor market regulations and favorable political environment. Since 2009, management compensation has jumped around 50 percent faster than union workers’ income and actually, according to the Center for Automotive Research, when it comes to the auto industry the real wages actually dropped 24 percent since 2003. Now, in Detroit, Dennis Williams, the United Auto Workers’ recently appointed president, says getting a raise for the workers of GM, Ford and FCA US (formerly the Chrysler Group LLC) will be the top priority for this year’s contract negotiations. And ha also has the advantage of strike – back in 2011 the UAW gave up that fundamental labor prerogative to help spur the revival at GM and Chrysler – but that contract is scheduled to end on September 15.

The Detroit Three are naturally unwilling to increase their labor costs – after these were viewed as one of the key issues that brought them on the brink of collapse. Instead, they favor the profit sharing scheme for worker rewards – they have the advantage of being shrunk or even disappear if tough times reappear. The autoworkers have been rewarded with record profit sharing for the past five years.

Via Bloomberg