When General Motors made a deadline-day offer for a new labor contract to the UAW last week, it came with a gift. The company was prepared to build batteries in an Ohio town that’s been sweating the prospect that half a century of car-making will come to an end. But there was a catch. GM and an as-yet-unnamed battery supplier for its next-generation electric vehicles would offer wages similar to what the automaker pays non-assembly workers who top out at $17 an hour, according to people familiar with the proposal. Senior-level plant staff make roughly $30 an hour. The shortfall is one of several reasons the union rejected GM and went on strike. For the UAW, who builds electric vehicles and how much they earn is an existential issue. Negotiators are already trying to get a better deal for temporary and less-tenured workers who don’t make the top assembly wage — part of a tiered-pay system set up to rebuild union ranks in the wake of the recession. If it caves to GM again, the UAW fears it will be chasing wages for a generation. There are also grave concerns with essentially incentivizing GM to plow money into plants making… Read full this story
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