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Those ‘overpaid’ autoworkers

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

As the debate goes on about bailing out the Big Three American automakers, you may have heard the figure manufactured by General Motors that UAW workers are paid $73 an hour.

There’s been several posts at the Unqualified Offerings blog which explains why this number is wrong, but I think the key post is this one, which explains that GM is including unrelated health care and pension costs for retirees. As blogger Jim Henley comments, “The only reason I can think of for propagating the ‘70/hour’ canard is political: to foster resentment of GM’s ‘lavishly paid’ workforce among people who make less than $70/hour, which is most of us.”

The actual figure for wages is about $28 an hour, according to blogger Felix Salmon.

Surely any debate about the UAW’s role in helping or hurting auto makers ought to be based on actual facts.

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