The Big Three U.S. automakers are poised to add 36,000 new manufacturing jobs by 2015 according to economist Sean McAlinden of the Center for Automotive Research. Speaking after a lecture at Wayne State University, McAlinden told reports that the current workforce employed by the GM, Ford and Chrysler is currently working at near maximum capacity and that the added Tier 2 hourly workers will be needed.
It’s not all good news, however, with the Tier 2 status being the lowest wage payable to new hourly workers. While a positive in the short term for the automakers, it also looks to spark a larger debate over compensation, with the UAW eager to win back concessions made leading up to and exiting the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies.
Current agreements between the Big Three and the UAW allow up to 25 percent of workers to be Tier 2, and even raising that number to 20 percent from the current level would see average salaries for GM drop from a current $58 per hour wage to $48 per hour, significantly driving up profits.
That 25 percent only lasts until 2015, however, hence the expected surge in new hires before that date. With the 25 percent rule came into effect as the Big Three struggled during the recession, a post-downturn auto industry and high profits will have the UAW on the warpath to win back compensation for its members. Big union-manufacturer battles are brewing and according to McAlinden, look for Ford to be the first target.
[Source: Automotive News]