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Comparing CEO Pay to Worker Pay is Ridiculous

The United Auto Workers is currently striking against an auto parts supplier in my town. Key issues include overtime pay, increases in co-pays for health care and the use of more temporary employees at the plant.

It’s ironic that at least two of those three issues is a direct result of policies implemented by a President the UAW helped elect. Thanks to Obamacare, most people are paying more for healthcare, and temporary and part-time workers are taking over the economy. Welcome to Obama’s America, UAW Member. Karma…

The union made some concessions in 2008, and since the heavy truck industry, which the plant is supplying, is doing a little better now, the workers want some back.

Never mind the employees are not chained to their work stations and are free to leave to pursue a deal elsewhere more to their liking. When most people are unhappy with their employer, they either grin and bear it or they leave. But the United Auto Workers, like most unions, thrive on an entitlement mindset.

The problem with giving back to the union during better times is, when business turns down again, it’s a dogfight trying to get those concessions back from the union. Think Hostess.

When things were going well for the Detroit automakers back in the day, it was easiest for them to give in to the unions rather than risk a work stoppage and lose market share to the competition. The good times will last forever, right?

Of course that didn’t happen. The economy tanked, two of the Detroit automakers went bankrupt and many thousands lost their jobs.

So what happens if the boost in the heavy truck industry is temporary? What about planning for the future so those union workers can maybe keep their jobs if the market tanks again?

Then came a Letter to the Editor in our local paper. The writer stated that with perks, stock options, etc., the CEO of the company now facing a strike is making somewhere around $20 million. I have no idea the accuracy of that figure. The writer claims the workers deserve more pay if the CEO is making that much.

Really?

The company has over 60,000 employees worldwide with annual sales in excess of $16 billion. And the letter writer is comparing factory workers with the person responsible for running the company?

Chances are the CEO got an education. Chances are the CEO worked his way up the ladder, either in this company of some other company. Chances are the CEO didn’t just work 40 hours and go home for the week. Chances are the CEO didn’t demand overtime for every minute worked over 40. Chances are the CEO was willing to relocate, probably many times, rather than staying in place for his whole life. Chances are the CEO was working nights and weekends while Union Member was on his boat, using his RV and/or guzzling beer with his buddies.

The union left likes to talk about fairness. They like to talk about working hard. Without question, many union members work very hard. Also without question, some union members are slackers. We’ve seen the reports from a Detroit television station documenting UAW members getting high on their lunch breaks. Then building the vehicles you transport your kids in.

But what the union left doesn’t talk about is risk and sacrifice. They only see the final product: a CEO with a $20 million compensation package. They don’t see what it took to get there, and they’re unwilling to take the risks and make the sacrifices to get there themselves.

Here’s a news flash for Union Member: Not everyone can run a company with 60,000 employees. And with $16+ billion in revenues, the CEO may very well be worth $20 million.

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