(Bloomberg) -- The United Auto Workers union managed to negotiate better raises for members than the average bump General Motors Co. plans to give salaried staff.
After a six-week strike at GM, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV, the UAW secured average annual raises of 5.4% a year, plus cost-of-living allowances that will lift increases to more than 6% this year — gains not seen in decades. Salaried workers, meanwhile, will get an average boost of 3.5% this year at GM, which is in the range of what the automaker usually gives, people familiar with the matter said.
Salaried staff at the three automakers that employ thousands of workers in and around Detroit tend to earn more than hourly employees, and can get higher bonuses depending on their level of pay. The car-giant this week also mandated that same group come back into the office three days a week.
Some have taken to the social media site Reddit to grouse about what they view as comparatively meager raises. Two salaried workers had the same complaint that the UAW had before contract talks started: That their raises were overwhelmed by inflation.
GM salaried workers, which include engineers, designers, managers and other office staff, will also have to pay a bit more for their health-care coverage going forward, with their deductible for the company’s family plan rising $300 to $6,700 for the year.
Employees can lower their deductible by $1,500 by getting a physical each year, a GM spokesperson said. Even with the discount, that’s double the average deductible of $2,434 in 2023 for a family plan at large companies, according to a KFF employer benefits survey.
GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said at a media roundtable in New York on Nov. 30, that the company, which just announced a $10 billion share buyback and dividend boost, has to strike a balance between its employees and shareholders.
“We’ve got to invest in our people, we’ve got to invest in our owners and we’ve got to invest in our future and do it in a balanced way,” he said. “Without the salaried people, the hourly people don’t have jobs so we’ve got to create that balance.”
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