According to a top researcher, labor costs for salaried employees at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors will surpass those of workers represented by the United Auto Workers for the first time next year. A report in Automotive News says the calculation was performed by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), and made public at a recent conference.

Sean McAlinden, chief economist for CAR, explained the math like this. The Big Three's 66,000 salaried employees make an average of $122,500, or just over $8 billion in wages. That's a little more than the $7.9 billion that 115,000 hourly workers will take home at roughly $69,000 each.

Until 2009, McAlinden said, hourly employment had a decisive edge in total compensation, but plant closings and a paring down of the blue collar workforce have left salaried employees accounting for about 37 percent of the Big Three's American workers.

Is this just another sign of a shrinking UAW, or something more significant? It's hard to say, but the article hints that salaried workers could be the next targets for cost-cutting: "McAlinden said a recent pledge by General Motors CEO Dan Akerson to cut vehicle platforms by half and consolidate advertising with fewer agencies recognized that salaried labor costs are mounting."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 45 Comments
      john64
      • 3 Years Ago
      The guy across from her in the red shirt has an amazing view...
      cartastic
      • 3 Years Ago
      I agree with everyone. The first thing I notice on the article was how hot that worker girl is.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Basil Exposition
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know it has been said many times already, but I really feel the need to repeat it. That girl looks extremely hot. And not just for auto plant worker. My last car was from Wixom, wonder if she had a hand in building it?
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yada Yada Salary... who's the smokin' hot assembly line chick in the picture? :)
        Zoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        Probably unemployed and pilloried by the right.
        Pinhead
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        I don't know, but she can apparently build cars AND spell, so she looks like a keeper ;-)
          Kevin W
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Pinhead
          She IS a hot meal. Some see white collar... come see blue collar... some see right, some see left... I see boobs.
          Sickness
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Pinhead
          I'm not sure what building cars and spelling have to do with preparing a hot meal...
          dukeisduke
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Pinhead
          She could help out with a LeMons project.
        Carbon Fibre
        • 3 Years Ago
        @John
        Too bad she's just a photo example, cause I see none of this in daily life, rare.
      Phil1982
      • 3 Years Ago
      This looks like apple v oranges to me. The salaried number looks like it includes fringes, bonuses, etc. The union number looks like base wages only. In all the analysis that I've ever seen, including fringes, OT and other premiums and the average UAW wage is around $100K. This analysis needs some serious clarification and/or cleaning up.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Phil1982
        [blocked]
          Phil1982
          • 3 Years Ago
          Grow up. You're babbleing and make zero sense. NO WHERE in the article do they reference Executive Compensation as being included in the average white collar salaries. NO WHERE. Just think about it...explain to me in a weighted average how 0.15% (100 Executives\66,000 total salaried) of the salaried workforce is going to skew this analysis that much. It wouldn't. That's ridiculous and the $122K is not even CLOSE to being indicative of the average salaried worker's take home pay at the Big Three. The math doesn't add up unless you include the fringe, benefits, bonuses, etc. Believe it or not, that $122K is fringe loaded. The $69,000 is not. This comparison is NOT apples to apples. Very simple. Load the $69,000 with fringe and other benefits and you have very similar numbers to your average salaried worker. This is not a knock or an inditement. It's reality. This article is BUNK.
          • 3 Years Ago
          [blocked]
          Phil1982
          • 3 Years Ago
          That's not what I said. It's $30/Hr plus fringes and benefits that get you to $50/hr total. $50/hr is wages AND fringe (Healthcare, benefits, etc.) I NEVER said $50/hr and then add in benefits. Right, I'm the stupid one...this is basic reading comprehension. You could have read the link I posted also. Ridiculous.
      detox440
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think for graduating high school being able to look forward to an "average" pay of 70K is pretty damn sweet, Is this factoring in medical or retirement benefits or not? Assuming NOT - it';s still a good deal. The sad thing is we are going to have a bunch of union lovers use this as a chance to bash "corporate:" people. Honestly though, if I spend 4 to 6 years in college and invest 50-100-200K of my own money into education, its only right that I make a much higher average in terms of pay. Don't like it? Go to school and do it yourself. Getting paid 70K a year to screw a door to a car under incredibly lax and open working conditions is not a bad deal when you come from that sort of background.
        Mobis21
        • 3 Years Ago
        @detox440
        So what? You are among those groups of economically challenged morons in favor of a reduced standard of living for American blue collar workers? You used the rationale of "investing" 50-100-200k of your own money? Hey genius, it isn't your own money when you have to take out student loans and then have to pay them back. More tired, ignoramus, pablum filled tripe from a know nothing, do nothing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @detox440
        [blocked]
      Mobis21
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is a vacuum of misunderstanding regarding how our consumer economy works. Lower paid income earners equals a shrinking economy resulting in higher rates of unemployment, as less people can afford to buy goods or services. Anyone advocating lower wages has either been intentionally misled or intentionally chosen to ignore the laws of a market economy.
        Renaurd
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mobis21
        Thank you, thank you, thank you, for a very truthful comment. Those advocating that others should take a pay cut, should instead be demanding a raise for themselves. Unions are the only thing standing between the complete loss of the middle class and absolute poverty in this nation.
        vaavaavoom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mobis21
        Wow, where did you learn economics? Lower paid income eaners = shrinking economy / higher rates of unemployment? So let me get this straight, we should pay workers more - so products are more expensive to manufacture - so most people cannot afford the products (albiet some presumably have more money - but that is not a truism across the entire economy and begs the question; when does the inflation of wages stop?) - which results in less demand - resulting in higher unemployment. I'm afraid that you don't fully understand the free market economy. We need to be competetive on the global market - and advocating higher wages is not exactly going to help, is it? Of course there is a bit more to it than that - like over-regulation and high rates of taxation that certainly contribute. But I don't buy your argument and I'm not misled nor ignorant.
          Making11s
          • 3 Years Ago
          @vaavaavoom
          In a CONSUMER based economy like ours, people have to be able to afford to buy things. When too many people can't afford to buy stuff the economy tanks. Now, if we were a manufacturing based economy, lower wages could be argued as a good thing. However since manufacturing only accounts for about 11% GDP, our economy obviously isn't based on manufacturing.
          Mobis21
          • 3 Years Ago
          @vaavaavoom
          Fail. Fail. Name a major functioning democracy that uses a pure Capitalist model to run their economy? Oh yeah, and leave out Communist China. They use Capitalism as an economic system which proves Capitalism needs neither Democracy nor Communism to function. Just pure greed. American manufacturing and tech jobs weren't outsourced due to costs. It was done soley for pure, raw greed. And please do not reply with right wing, Ayn Rand, neo-economic trickle down, talking points.
      Fazzster
      • 3 Years Ago
      Brains & Talent = $$$ Brains = $$ Less Brains = $ It has been this way for time in memorium...
        GearheadGeek
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fazzster
        If language skills are any indication, you're not in the 3-dollar-sign category.
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a great sign for my future! Average of $125k for salaried positions, hell that's where I intend to start! Business is good.
      JEO
      • 3 Years Ago
      Without more details, this seems about right. What it doesn't say is how many hours are spent to make the dollars. As a salaried employee, I never cared how many extra hours I worked and routinely did that.
      BG
      • 3 Years Ago
      "make an average of $122,500," Wow, I want a job there.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BG
        [blocked]
          Making11s
          • 3 Years Ago
          I think you are the one that needs to reread, SVX pearlie. There are 66,000 salaried workers making an average of $122,500 annually and another 115,000 hourly workers making an average of $69,000 annually. That's two separate groups making different average amounts.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BG
        [blocked]
          AnthonyL
          • 3 Years Ago
          Actaully Phil, Mually's salary alone makes a $379 difference in the $122,000 (can figure that out by basic algebra). So if you take out all execs, the mean would be lower. Substantially, no, but probably about a couple thousand lower.
          Phil1982
          • 3 Years Ago
          100 Executives are .15% of the total 66,000 salaried population. It's a mathmatical impossibility for that the skew ANY weighted average.
    • Load More Comments