It’s been a central argument for the United Auto Workers union: If Detroit’s three automakers raised CEO pay by 40 per cent over the past four years, workers should get similar raises.
UAW President Shawn Fain has repeatedly cited the figure, contrasting it with the six per cent pay raises autoworkers have received since their last contract in 2019. He opened negotiations with a demand for a similar 40 per cent wage increase over four years, along with the return of pensions and cost of living increases. The UAW has since lowered its demand to a 36 per cent wage increase but the two sides remain far apart in contract talks, triggering a strike.
Fain’s focus on CEO pay is part of a growing trend of emboldened labor unions citing the wealth gap between workers and the top bosses to bolster demand for better pay and working conditions. In June, Netflix shareholders rejected executive pay packages in a nonbinding vote, just days after the Writers Guild of America wrote letters urging investors to vote against the pay proposals, saying it would be inappropriate amid Hollywood’s ongoing strike by writers. The WGA wrote similar letters targeting the executive pay at Comcast and NBCUniversal.
Fain has pushed back against arguments that a big pay bump for the union would jack up costs of vehicles and put the Big Three automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) — at a disadvantage against foreign competitors with lower-cost workforces in the race to transition to electric vehicles.
“The reason we ask for 40 per cent pay increases is because in the last four years alone, the CEO pay went up 40 per cent. They’re already millionaires,” Fain told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday. “Our demands are just. We’reRead more on globalnews.ca