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Home » UAW justifies wage calls for by pointing to CEO pay raises. So how excessive have been they?

UAW justifies wage calls for by pointing to CEO pay raises. So how excessive have been they?

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NEW YORK (AP) — It’s been a central argument for the United Auto Staff union: If Detroit’s three automakers raised CEO pay by 40% over the previous 4 years, employees ought to get comparable raises.

UAW President Shawn Fain has repeatedly cited the determine, contrasting it with the 6% pay raises autoworkers have acquired since their final contract in 2019. He opened negotiations with a requirement for the same 40% wage improve over 4 years, together with the return of pensions and value of dwelling will increase. The UAW has since lowered its demand to a 36% wage improve however the two sides stay far aside in contract talks, triggering a strike.

Fain’s deal with CEO pay is a part of a rising pattern of emboldened labor unions citing the wealth hole between employees and the highest bosses to bolster demand for higher pay and dealing situations. In June, Netflix shareholders rejected government pay packages in a nonbinding vote, simply days after the Writers Guild of America wrote letters urging buyers to vote towards the pay proposals, saying it might be inappropriate amid Hollywood’s ongoing strike by writers. The WGA wrote comparable letters focusing on the chief pay at Comcast and NBCUniversal.

Fain has pushed again towards arguments {that a} massive pay bump for the union would jack up prices of autos and put the Massive Three automakers — Common Motors, Ford and Stellantis (previously Chrysler) — at a drawback towards international rivals with lower-cost workforces within the race to transition to electrical autos.

“Within the final 4 years, the value of autos went up 30%. Our wages went up 6%, The CEOs acquired 40%. There have been billions of {dollars} in shareholder dividends. So our wages aren’t the issue,” Fain stated in a latest interview with The Related Press.

CEO pay has ballooned for many years, whereas wages for unusual employees have lagged. However did the Massive Three chief executives actually get 40% pay will increase? Not precisely.

“I don’t know the place the 40% got here from,” stated Common Motors CEO Mary Barra at a brand new convention when requested if the UAW’s numbers have been correct.

Government pay is notoriously difficult to calculate as a result of a lot of it comes within the type of inventory grants or inventory choices. An in depth take a look at the compensation packages in any respect three firms exhibits how the UAW’s declare each overstates and understates actuality, relying on the view.


Barra, the one one of many three who held the position since 2019, is the very best paid, with a compensation package deal of price $28.98 million in 2022. The one greatest element was $14.62 million in inventory grants, which vest over three years and whose final worth will depend on inventory efficiency and different metrics.

Her pay has elevated 34% since 2019, in accordance information from public filings analyzed for AP by Equilar.

Ford CEO James Farley acquired almost $21 million in whole compensation in 2022, a 25% improve over the $16.76 million then-CEO William Clay Ford acquired in 2019. Farley’s package deal final 12 months included $15.14 million in inventory awards, which additionally vest over three years with an final worth depending on efficiency.

The place the the comparability will get difficult is at Stellantis, which was fashioned in 2021 with the merger of Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Vehicles and French PSA Group. As a result of it’s a European firm, the best way Stellantis discloses government pay differs considerably from GM and Ford.

In its annual renumeration report, Stellantis reported CEO Carlos Tavares’ 2022 pay was 23.46 million euros. That’s an almost 77% improve over then Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley’s 2019 pay of 13.28 million euros.

These are the numbers utilized by the UAW when it calculated that three automakers have, collectively, elevated CEO pay by 40.1% since 2019, based on the methodology the union offered to The AP.

However there’s a catch: Stellantis’ figures replicate “realized pay,” which embrace the worth of beforehand granted fairness that vested throughout the reporting 12 months. U.S. firms, in distinction, use grant date worth of inventory packages awarded to executives throughout the reporting 12 months.

In its evaluation, Equilar used the “grant date” technique to make an equal comparability between all three CEOs. By that measure, Tavares’ 2022 compensation was in 21.95 million euros in 2022, together with 10.9 million in inventory awards with a three-year vesting interval.

That’s truly 24% decline from Manley’s compensation package deal in 2019, which was 29.04 million euros, based on Equilar.


So, is Tavares actually making lower than Manley was 4 years in the past? Probably not.

That’s as a result of in some years, speaking a couple of CEO’s “realized pay” can obscure exorbitant pay packages authorized by firm boards.

Take Tavares’ 2021 compensation package deal, which included particular incentive award of 25 million euros in money in addition to inventory price 19.56 million euros — all contingent on long-term efficiency targets — granted to Tavares in recognition of “his important position” in main the corporate by way of the merger.

That one-time award, which got here on high of hundreds of thousands of extra in common compensation, alone pushed Tavares’ 2021 compensation package deal far above what Manley acquired in 2019.

Stellantis shareholders voted 52.1% to reject the pay proposal of their annual assembly, although the vote was solely advisory and the board authorized his package deal anyway.

The CEOs of GM and Ford additionally noticed their compensation packages peak in 2021, earlier than declining barely in 2022.


Nevertheless you slice the numbers, the hole between CEO pay and rank-and-file employees in any respect three firms is gigantic.

At GM, the median employee pay was $80,034 in 2022. It will take that employee 362 years to make Barra’s annual compensation.

At Ford, the place the media pay $74, 691, it might take 281 years.

At Stellantis, with a median pay of 64,328 euros, it might take 365 years, though the corporate famous its its annual report that the disparity contains bills associated to Tavares’ one-time grant. Excluding that, the pay ratio is 298-1.

How excessive that disparity? It will depend on the comparability.

It’s far above the everyday pay hole at S&P 500 firms, which was 186-1 based on AP’s annual CEO pay survey, which makes use of information analyzed by Equilar.

And it’s astronomical by historic requirements. In accordance with a examine of the 350 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations by the left-leaning Financial Coverage Institute, the CEO-to-Employee pay ratio was simply 15-1 in 1965.

The automakers, for his or her half, emphasize that their international rivals pay their employees a lot much less. Together with advantages, employees on the Detroit 3 automakers obtain round $60 an hour, based on Harry Katz, a labor professor at Cornell College. At foreign-based automakers with U.S. factories, the compensation is about $40 to $45.

Then there’s Tesla.

CEO Elon Musk’s 2022 compensation was reported as zero within the firm’s proxy assertion, rendering its official pay ratio meaningless. In fact, that’s as a result of Tesla hasn’t awarded Musk new packages since a 2018 long-term compensation plan that would probably be price greater than $50 billion and is going through a authorized problem from shareholders.

However the proxy affords glimpse on the mind-boggling wealth disparity between its employees and one of many world’s richest males.

The submitting reported Musk’s whole “realized compensation” in 2021 at greater than $737 million. A typical Tesla employee earned $40,723 that 12 months.

In accordance with the proxy, for that employee to make Musk’s “realized compensation” that 12 months, it might take greater than 18,000 years.


AP Auto Author Tom Krishner in Detroit contributed to this story.

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