• Dec 1, 2008



The president of the United Auto Workers union, Ron Gettelfinger, said in a recent CNN interview that U.S. automakers need to tell Congress they will limit corporate pay, bonuses and severance packages in return for more government loans. Gettelfinger also said that the Detroit Three only need the loans to hold them over during these tough times. While the first statement from the union's top player seems like basic common sense, the second seems highly optimistic... especially when one considers the size of the industry and the depth of its issues. While no single event (or loan, for that matter) will likely turn around the downslide, all of those affected by the auto industry's potential demise will be interested in tomorrow's events. That's because Dec. 2 is the day House and Senate leaders told the automakers that they need to submit a "credible restructuring plan" that's convincing enough to get Congress to open its wallet when it reconvenes next week.

[Source: Reuters]



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  • 49 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      yeah how much does he make? we should limit his pay... and we should limit oil CEO's pay... and we should limit WalMart CEO's pay...

      I hate when they talk about government having a say so in how much someone does or doesn’t get paid. if you don’t like the way they run their business then let them fail. if the CEO's pay was what is keeping them from succeeding then they deserve to fail. but we all know that’s not it... its just a marketing ploy like this whole we are selling our jets thing... it makes no difference.
      • 6 Years Ago
      While we're talking cuts, would UAW/Gettelfinger admit that the union pension/benefits need to be cut down (which is by far the largest drain on the Big 2.5)?

      You could give CEOs $0 dollars in pay, it doesn't change the billions lost from union benefits. It's amazing how stubborn and near-sided the UAW is. They're bringing down US automakers, and doing so with an arrogant stride.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is exactly the right answer. Paying a CEO $50M/year is NOTHING compared to the strain of the legacy workers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OK, great, Middlefinger wants the bosses to take a pay cut.

      Congress already suggested that, like, a week ago. Where was he? Oh yeah, he was SITTING THERE with his thumb up his ... you know, where the sun doesn't shine.

      I want to know when we find out how much this asswipe makes and how much of a pay cut HE is going to take.

      And I want the jobs bank gone like YESTERDAY. It's that kind of feeding at the trough that has to end.
        • 6 Years Ago
        not my info, the UAW...
        surprised me. I'm sure that there are perks above and below board in addition but that is what is in his contract

        Section 1. The International President, International Secretary-Treasurer, International Vice Presidents and International Executive Board Members, shall receive a further three (3) percent increase in base salary effective March 1, 2007. In addition, the salaries may be adjusted quarterly in accordance with changes in the cost of living based on the current formula as developed by the International Executive Board.

        Section 2. International Representatives shall receive a further three (3) percent increase in base salary effective March 1, 2007. In addition, the salaries may be adjusted quarterly in accordance with changes in the cost of living based on the current formula as developed by the International Executive Board.

        Section 3. The salaries of the International President, International Secretary-Treasurer, International Vice Presidents and International Executive Board Members in full for services rendered by each of said officers shall be the following sums:

        International President, one hundred and forty four thousand, seven hundred and thirty-three dollars and forty-seven cents ($144,733.47) per annum. International Secretary-Treasurer, one hundred and thirty-three thousand, eight hundred and ninety-one dollars and thirty-two cents ($133,891.32) per annum.

        International Vice Presidents, one hundred and twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and fifty-six dollars and nine cents ($129,656.09) per annum.

        International Executive Board Members, one hundred and eighteen thousand, eight hundred and thirteen dollars and ninety cents ($118,813.90) per annum.

        Salaries shall be payable in biweekly installments.

        Section 4. The International President, International Secretary-Treasurer, International Vice Presidents and International Executive Board Members shall devote their full time to their duties and shall not serve as an officer of a Local Union, District Council or any other subordinate body, except UAW-CAP Councils, beyond ninety (90) days after being elected as an International Officer.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Ron makes $145K/yr + benefits and perks....

        a pretty steady salary over the past few years even amongst the steadily decreasing ranks.

        still not bad for going around and pointing your gettelfinger at others.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Guess you missed my point geo-stew...

        UAW's head dude is making 145K & he's working out contracts with guys pulling down MILLIONS.

        My middle management Design Director made 160K & he had 3 bosses ABOVE him( & they had bosses above them...).

        Gettelfinger is the top dog at the UAW & he makes LESS than a corporate middle manager. Some of his members (working a helluva lot of OT) get close to his salary.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Toyota Manufacturing Powerhouse "In a reflection of Toyota's team-oriented approach, its executive pay is paltry by U.S. standards. Analyst Ron Tadross at Banc of America Securities estimates the total annual compensation of Toyota's CEO at under $1 million - about as much as a vice president at GM or Ford Motor Co. makes in a good year."
      • 6 Years Ago
      The UAW needs to look in the mirror:

      Jobs Bank. It still lives and needs to be completely eliminated. The jobs bank costs nearly $1 BILLION dollars annually to all companies with the UAW.

      You can whine about executive salary all you want. Jobs Bank >> executive pay.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Job banks were a concession for robotizing the assembly line during the early 90s. Uaw said job banks or strike and no robots. I suggest you learn the facts before you start talking out of your rear
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ AZZO45b

        Actually, they did have a "gun to the head". The threat of strikes is more than enough incentive.

        Don't you recall earlier in the year during contract negotiations, the UAW did strike for a few days with each of the B3 just to make a point?

        To say that no one forced management to sign anything is a bit inaccurate.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Job Banks had to be APPROVED by these ultra rich executives you worship so much.

        No one had a f*cking GUN to their head when GM, Ford & Chrysler executives agreed to that UAW demand during contract time.

        These wonderful CEO's agreed to the "Job Bank" in part so they could save $$$ on what they would contribute to state unemployment rolls. They also thought this would make the books look better to Wall St analysts...
        • 6 Years Ago
        You are clueless. I've been in the industry nearly 20 years. Any you? Probably not so much sitting in your college dorm room.

        The UAW, who you worship so much, used strong arm tactics to bully their way into their treasure chest of benefits in the 80's and 90's. They refused to ever make any meaningful concessions when things stated going south. The executives are guilty of one thing; not throwing these worthless losers to the streets years ago.

        Now the big 3 are crippled by the UAW's greed and are uncompetitive. Ya, comrade, lets keep paying guys $75K-$100K to sweep the floor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Ya, comrade, lets keep paying guys $75K-$100K to sweep the floor."

        Floor sweeping was contracted out and non core jobs pay half salary.

        Also the jobs bank was cleaned out and is virtually non existent.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There must be some kind of stupid gene somewhere in the guts of union people. Those dopes are largely responsible for killing the domestic auto industry and don't know when to turn off the damage.

      Best for the rest of us taxpayers when the UAW (and other unions, too) are fully busted.

      Unions are parasites that ultimately kill their hosts!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Unions are parasites that ultimately kill their hosts!"

        Great analogy. The UAW is like a flee latched onto it's host and sucking it's life blood. All they do it eat and poop.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Before anyone suggest pay to be limited, let's start with YOUR pay.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Over the last several years, my pay has been steadily decreasing while my responsibilities have been steadily increasing. Is it OK for me to have an opinion now?

        I think many CEO's are overpaid, the B3 included. I don't understand why the Board of Directors doesn't step in and do something about it. CEO's bask in the glory of good times, they need to feel the reverse effect in bad times.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I took about 40% cut in gross income this year in my retail business. So basically after costs of operating I barely made enough to eat and pay rent. Did I mess up? Yeah I ordered the same amount of merchandise as last year expecting no growth. Instead I get hit with a big decline. I took a pay cut, I didn't reduce my the wages on my employees instead I had to layoff some of them instead. Now its December and its times up for me, just sitting on my ass with a bunch of merchandise in my warehouse writing my check for 12k in rent and checking autoblog.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What I dont understand is why isn't anybody arguing at the fact that the Executives and the UAW both have their hand on the problem? You have fat cats pulling from the Corp. on one side and the Union from the other. All the while, both sides are getting benefits and perks and money and vacations (disproportionately but still both sides are getting it) and this corporate entity which is a vital component of the american economy is wilting and withering like a grape in the sun. You spend more time worring about lining your pockets than producing a quality product, the medeocrity is gonna catch up with you. In this case it clearly isn't one side or the other...as is commonly demonstrated by the frequent finger pointing that so often happens with the auto industry. They dug this grave collectively...now its time they lie in it. Honda, Toyota, and eventually Tata Motors will send flowers and a big thank you note.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The effect of legacy costs cannot be underestimated here. When you have a $2k disadvantage with your competitors, it is going to manifest itself in the vehicles you produce and the compensation that you can provide to employees. It is an unsustainable situation which is coming to a head now due to the sudden decline in the economy. Paying Wagoner $1 or $10 million would not have changed that one bit.

        • 6 Years Ago
        AZZO, you seem to be missing the point. Paying a GM CEO $17M/year is .4% (low-end) of what they pay in legacy worker healthcare costs alone.

        http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_19/b3932001_mz001.htm

        This was from an article in 2005 where "...health-care obligations to retirees alone could save $4 billion to $5 billion a year." I calculated it using the $4B figure, and don't you think healthcare costs have gone up since 2005? I know mine have.

        While I, too think these CEOs are way overpaid, there is only so much one can do when legacy costs are crushing your ability to compete in the market by either higher car prices or lack of investment in R&D.

        Blaming it all on the 'fat cats' is a tired at best.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So lets keep everything exactly the same. Come on! Are you in upper middle management waiting for your pay out?

        Wagner makes 17 Million (7 million MORE than your example)... Meantime Toyota CEO makes about $950,000 & his company has been extremely profitable (42-44 BILLION is suppose to be cash...) Toyota is also assisted by the Japanese government (R&D $$$ & Japan's Health Care System...) Yet, the U.S. tax payer doesn't want to help any US based businesses... can't have it both ways.
        • 6 Years Ago
        AZZO45b - You seem to be missing the point. GM isn't failing because of its CEO's pay. It is failing due to historical legacy costs and the current market conditions. Do you think the Billions that GM pays for healthcare coverage (they are the largest purchaser of health care in the US) or their CEO's salary is a bigger money drain? Many of the items we are talking about such as jobs bank reduction and UAW compensation were already agreed upon with the UAW, but the net effect doesn't fully take hold until the VEBA is operational and there are enough new hires at the reduced UAW wages. I don't know how many plants you have been in but over the past few years the workers are getting older, not younger, so much of the savings potential isn't being realized since senority places those older workers on the line at higher hourly rates. Toss in the current financial situation and sales figures that were not anticipated to be nearly this low and voila, we have the current realities of the industry. Wagoner is neither a villian nor a hero through this.

        BTW - Can you provide a link to Wagoner's compensation being $17million? I haven't seen a value that high. How much of that is tied to stock options? Those can't be worth nearly as much anymore.

        ...And I'm a lowly engineer at a supplier, so no big bonus (or little one for that matter) for me. And I fully support the Big 3 receiving the federal loans they are asking for.
        • 6 Years Ago
        MTU: You seem to be missing the point. American executives are OVER-PAID & OVER COMPENSATED for the "services" they have provided. Add compensation of the BoD's. & we are getting royally PIMPED!!!

        UAW membership has been DECREASING not INCREASING for the last 15 years. The Detroit 3 have MORE non union , white collar staff then they have blue collar workforce working in manufacturing. As a "lowly engineer" working for an automotive supplier you should know this.

        My favorite word... LEGACY COSTS. A corporate speak, B.S Bingo term, used by the over compensated auto executives to gloss over the fact that "LC's" are PEOPLE. Ex non-union & union RETIRES who are not exactly ready (or able) to re-enter the job market. I'm sure the DET-3 would love for these retirees to just drop dead... but that's not going to happen.

        Japan, like many other countries WORKS WITH their large industries... America doesn't. Toyota & Honda delivered low cost Hybrids... GM is asking for help to debut their Volt.

        Japan, like many European industries have some form of NATIONAL HEATH CARE... the USA obviously does NOT have this. Healthcare & drug company lobbyist have scared the $h*t out of a chunk of this country that the current system is just great, especially compared to "Socialized Systems". Research & international rankings prove what is really working (& how cost effective it is...)

        America's HC system is hurting the Big 3... its also hurting thousands of small businesses. White collar, blue collar... everyone is working HARDER & for LESS $$$. Forgive me if I feel its time to start fixing what is obviously BROKE.

        As for a link to what Wagner & company make... you said you were a supplier/ engineer... I'm sure your fellow workers read the local Detroit newspaper... have an internet connection... I've read hundreds of stories over the last year on executive pay.

        I'm all for executives being paid for excellent job performance... but does it have to be 250 times MORE than the average worker... 400 times? I think returning to 1970 levels of 45 times more (hell if they are doing a good job reward 'em with 100 times more...) than the common worker is a good place to start. Busting unions & deregulating has been tried & its started to create a class society in America.

        What we have now is an American NIGHTMARE... I want the American DREAM back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And Big 3 auto sales have been decreasing for years…..and white collar jobs have been decreasing for years…….The cuts have been across the board. Ford has let go thousands of salaried personnel. And why does it matter if the mix is 60/40 salaried vs. “blue collar” or the other way around?

        Of course the legacy costs represent people, but it doesn’t change the fact that the future market share that was banked on to keep going when those deals were agreed with 10, 20, & 30 years ago isn’t there today.

        Sure, Japan subsidizes their auto companies & holds their currency low to aid in exports. The Japanese companies wouldn’t be nearly as successful as they are without the US market. How is the US suppose to emulate a system from a different country when our situation is different? What countries (China?) are we going to be able to sell that many vehicles in? Japan and the US are different so comparing them directly isn’t going to work.

        National health care IS NOT (hey I like this capital thing) the answer. You are using subjective arguments saying it is. I am not going to get into a health care debate on Autoblog because it isn’t the place and frankly, I don’t have the time, but no one is honestly saying that the current system is “great”. But if you think the answer is the government running the show (they are so efficient in everything else) and dictating coverage, I will say plainly that I believe you are mistaken. And I am sure your international rankings are very objective. ;)

        Looks like you will get your wish anyway as both Mulally and Wagoner have agreed to $1 salaries. One less item on the list of things to complain about.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good editorial in today's "Wall Street Journal" about auto manufacturing in the U.S. Take a look if you want the best analysis of the problem and the solution. Executive salaries, while undeserved, aren't the problem.

      Auto manufacturing is alive and well in the U.S. but the factories are owned by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and others. Also, the OWNERS include many U.S. citizens and pension funds. If you want to own Toyota or Honda stock, you can buy it. So, it's unfair to many Americans to bail out GM, et al.



      • 6 Years Ago
      Interesting article Michael, but you forgot to mention a very important part, EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

      You forgot to give us numbers

      Wagoner makes 17+ Million Dollars a year

      Mullaly makes 21+ Million Dollars a year + unlimited use of jet to commute to Seattle, where he lives and travels once a week (52 weeks * 30K per trip)=???
      His wife and his children also have unrestricted use of the Jet. Same fot Mark Fields, he lives in Florida and travels every weekend.

      As I said Mullaly DOES NOT live in Detroit, so one has to ask where does he live? What is the rent? Who pays for the rent? What about Food?


      Wagoner is just a criminal, as simple as that.

      The Executive compensation is just a number, but it goes way, way beyond that.

        • 6 Years Ago
        In Soviet Russia, pay limits you!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Executive pay should never be limited by Congress; only by boards of directors. This effort is nothing more than whipping up class envy, and we engage in the same debates about athletes and Hollywood celebrities.

      If you don't like the millions paid to athletes, then why do you hold season tickets? If you don't like the millions squandered in crazy living by the Hollywood stars, then don't buy their product.

      And if the boards of directors were wise, they would limit executive pay in a balance between public judgment of what is "fair", and the market realities of attracting talented leadership.

      Whether THIS leadership deserves such pay is another story, and a matter for the boards of directors to decide.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think this a bad era in American business where management is over-paid in all industries for smoke and mirrors type short term performance if not for outright failure. Let the backlash begin!
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