Regarding “Ending two-tiered pay and benefits system for temp labor the No. 1 contract request from workers — and GM, UAW can’t agree on it” (Sept. 24): The United Auto Workers union is striking against General Motors because of significant discrepancies in pay scales. Employees working there before 2007 make on average $31 per hour, while folks hired after 2007 make significantly less. And, contract workers make even less.
The Post-Dispatch glossed over the pay scale disparities by describing it as a “pay gap between new hires and veteran workers.” The newspaper quoted a worker as saying, “Seniority dictates our wage.” This vagary artfully distorts the very real concerns of striking GM workers. Anyone hired after 2007 will always earn far less than pre-2007 workers, even after earning raises. The newer workers’ pay scales will keep them locked out of the jobs that allowed earlier workers to build the middle class.
When GM was struggling to survive in 2007, it put that tiered wage scale into effect, and its workers conceded in order to save the company. Now, after GM posted profits of $35 million in North America over the past three years, GM has refused to resume a more equitable pay scale for workers hired after 2007.
It is critical for the Post-Dispatch to report all of the relevant facts. As your founder Joseph Pulitzer wrote, the Post-Dispatch “will always write for progress and reform … and always oppose privileged classes and corruption.”
Mary Ann Zaggy • University City