UAW chief: Union workers deserve share in industry turnaround

The UAW's president says that his union's workers deserve to be compensated now that the Detroit 3 are experiencing strong sales.

Although it might not seem like things are all hunky-dory in Detroit, the head of the United Auto Workers says that it is high time for union members to begin reaping the industry's benefits, especially given the cuts they made more than a year ago.

UAW members took pay cuts, let raises and benefits slide and accepted buyouts in favor of new workers paid as little as $14 per hour.

"All the sacrifices that our members made to turn these companies around were part of the process that's really led to this amazing turnaround," UAW President Bob King told Bloomberg during telephone interview yesterday. "We want our membership to share in a very meaningful way in the upside of these companies."

All three domestic automakers reported fairly strong annual sales figures yesterday, making the timing for King's statement rather obvious. With sales up, the UAW thinks its workers should share in the good news.

That's not to say that automakers aren't looking into ways to compensate workers on their own, although none of Detroit's Big 3 have announced any specific plans for raises or changes in benefits.

"We have had some preliminary discussions on the topic, but those discussions are on-going," GM spokeswoman Kimberly Carpenter said in an email. "We won't be sharing any details externally until the discussions are finalized and we share the information with our workforce."

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