wages in the auto industry

MARIPOWER716 at aol.com MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Wed Apr 3 06:53:32 MST 2002

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In a message dated 4/1/2002 10:47:28 AM Central Standard Time,
jon_flanders at compuserve.com writes:

> I would guess that 95% of those working in the acting field fall well
> below this wage range. Even a Halle Berry, who might command a high price
> for her next films, will most likely sink back to journey-person status.
> The shelf life of female screen stars is notoriously short.
> Jon Flanders

I must apologize for the lack of specificity. Large portions of skilled
workers (in the main) are activated when "something goes wrong."  The
production process is inherently flawed and "goes wrong" as a natural
consequence of production on the basis of an industrial mode of operations
fused with our particular methods of producing. In other words, when the
skilled workers are sitting around doing nothing profits or rather surplus
value is in continuous formation. More often than not, Saturday and Sunday is
the only days certain maintenance task and repairs can be implemented because
the machinery is not running.

Average wage actually means average. The base pay of a the average
autoworker, proceeding from the minimum wage scale of one with at least 36
months seniority is $22.00 per hour plus the diversion of wages - demanded by
the union, that constitutes what is generally called "benefit" health care,
dental, tuition refund programs, computers, etc.

A full 45% of the skilled workers in DaimlerChrysler system can retired after
30 years in the next 12 months.  Roughly 40% of the production workers are
eligible for retirement - 30 years of service, in the next 24 months. This of
course means that the majority of DaimlerChyrsler production workers has more
than 36 months and receives full wages. On an absolute 40 hours basis the
average minimum paid workers in assembly make $22.00 an hours times 40 hours
= $880.00. This absolute minimum of wages times 52 weeks equals $45,760.00.

May I suggest that one computes "something" for the medical and dental
benefits, since they are not a "handout" from our bourgeoisie but a diversion
of wages organized into a fund that makes possible a minimum hoard of capital
for the companies that provide these services. You of course are aware that
the tuition refund program for non-working union members in retirement is
$1800.00 per year and over $3,000.00 per year for worker actively engaging
the production process. This particular fund comes from a diversion of wages
and cannot be understood as a "freebee" given by our capitalist.

The ability to defer $11,000 into a 401K plan means that one saves, or rather
is not taxed at 1/3rd of that amount which is roughly $3300.00. I submit for
your inspection that $45,760.00 plus $3300.00 equals about $49,060.00 in
wages for the average minimum assembler with zero overtime hours - on the
first shift in as much as there is a shift premium paid of the 2nd and their
shift.  I personally worked the third shift - graveyard, during the late
1980s and my shift premium average - working six and seven days between $150
and $225.00 per week or $9,000.00 per year.

DaimlerChrysler is used because amongst the traditional US vehicle
manufacturers - Ford and General Motors, these workers make the least in
every corresponding category. Their current agreement of the autoworkers
union covers roughly 32 manufacturing and distribution centers in the US -
not including the massive facility in Auburn Hills Michigan, a stone throw
from Detroit and one of the wealthiest communities in America, the average or
rather standard work week is 9 hours a day and 6 days a week mandatory, with
a right to refuse to work the 6th day after having workers two weeks without
an absence. The 9 hour standard penetrated the mass consciousness when Ford
Motor Company announced the $5 a day wage on Jan. 5, 1914, replacing the
$2.34 wage for 9 hours.

The reason wages were computed on the basis of 52 weeks is because of the
historical diversion of a tiny portion of wages that pay for "vacation pay" -
4 weeks or 160 hours for workers with 20 years and more, down to one week for
workers with one-year seniority. Holiday pay and bonuses come from past wage
diversions and not give away's fro the company.  Union dues are two hours a
month or 2 times $22.00 in our example or roughly $530 a year.

The figures cited earlier were correct; although in hindsight it probably may
have been more help full to use the "average bottom" instead of the wages of
the "average middle" skilled trades, machine operators and assemblers. The
theoretical problem encountered using the "average minimum bottom" is a
misconception of the working class in its totality or the relationship
between the organized and unorganized sector. The organized sector has to
develop the capacity to defend the unorganized sector to defend itself. The
downward pressure on wages is materialized on the basis of the lower paid

The point was top show why high wages are merely "high wages" ($80,000.00 -
$150,000.00) typical for the auto industry and an indication of
stratification of the industrial workforce and the working class as a whole.
The fact that autoworkers are a small part of the workforce illustrates the
importance of organization in the form of union combines. The more organized
workers will dominate the unorganized workers in forwarding a political
agenda by virtue of their organization.

Given the intense stratification of not simply the workers involved n the
production of vehicles but all of US society, the "average wage" can be
misleading without specification. In terms of the organized workers it is
necessary to add to wages paid the amount that constitute the diversion of
wages called benefits. What would you compute as the cost of medical coverage
and dental? Whatever you compute as average please add this yearly figure to
our average minimum assemblers wage.

The autoworkers do not of course receive high wages as a portion of the total
social capital driving vehicle production if one look at the variable versus
the constant capital components of the total society capital and compare this
to the wage structure of the guardians of the production process at the top
of the pyramidal.

Communists have to walk on two legs so to speak; in the organized section of
the workers (not to be confused with the union leaders) and the unorganized
workers. Actually, I forget what was the point in all of this. . .  something
about autoworkers being paid a "certain" amount no longer being simply wages
but representing an expropriation of surplus value or what is the same thing,
a section of autoworkers defying the law of value - the socially necessary
amount of labor n the production of their commodity.  Carroll is inaccurate.
The previously cited figures are more than less accurate including those of
the higher paid skilled workers and union representatives, who together with
"job setters" number in the tens of thousands.

>From a strategic point of view of history evolution the skilled workers are
very important in combination with the growing segment of white collar
workers. Together this represent the core for transformation of industrial

The pension paid to the autoworker that has retired, as of November 1, 2001,
is $2375.00 a month or roughly $550.00 a week after taxes.  This is roughly
$28,500.00 a year. The majority of the lower section of the working class
makes less than this working five days a week. Where does this money come
from? Diversions from previous wages. This is not something freely given by
the company but paid for by those who labored.  Various companies raid the
pension fund and then cry bloody murder after they fail in the market and
have stolen the workers pension money. Such is the case with the Steel
industry, which is in the process of more bloodletting despite the tariff on
steel. Ones class outlook is important.

It like, all taxes in America are paid by the working class because they
produced all the material values. It's a question of class outlook.

Melvin P.

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