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Autoworkers want to get as much as they can because ‘we haven’t gotten past high inflation’

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” NBC News business and data reporter Brian Cheung said autoworkers are pushing for higher wages, in part because of massive inflation of recent years, but also because they “want to make sure that they we can extract as much now, given that we have not exceeded high inflation.

Host Andrea Mitchell said: “(L)et’s talk about context: workers gave up a huge amount in wages and pension benefits during the government’s bailout. The auto industry was bankrupt and the White House stepped in and they ended up with a bailout, a federal bailout. Now they’re making money, but they’re also switching to electric vehicles, they’re seeing their jobs disappear with robotics, and they want a 40% raise, which seems huge. But they say it’s a catch-up. At the same time, you get huge profits and salaries for CEOs.”

Cheung replied: “Yes, and the other thread too, Andrea, is about inflation, right? We have experienced extraordinary inflation, the likes of which we have not seen in over four decades in this country. So, workers are saying: ok, yes, the average salary has actually increased, keep in mind that they negotiated their current salary in 2019, before the inflationary episode that we saw after the pandemic. So their argument is that if you look at the data, you see that yes, wages in the auto industry, as measured by the government, for both union and non-union work, have increased 14 to 15 percent since the last contractual negotiation. But prices, during this period, increased by 18%. So they say their salaries have not kept up with these changes. And since these contracts are only negotiated every four years, they want to be sure that they can extract the most out of them now, given that we are not past high inflation.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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