Detroit auto makers scrapped defined-benefit pensions and retiree medical care for new workers in 2007 as they lurched toward insolvency. But Mr. Fain wants to restore these benefits for all workers, which would create enormous new unfunded liabilities and obligations. Tesla offers its workers 401(k)s with a contribution match of up to $3,000, which keeps a lid on future legacy costs.
We understand the financial blow that the inflation of the last two years has been for workers, and that the union wants this next contract to recover lost ground. But Ford CEO Jim Farley said last week that the UAW’s demands would more than double his company’s union-related labor costs and drive it into bankruptcy.
“The average pay would be nearly $300,000 for a four-day work week,” he noted. Mr. Fain insisted over the weekend that the auto makers could afford such higher pay since labor makes up a small share of a car’s costs.