The United Auto Workers are looking for leverage in their negotiations over health care and job security with General Motors, so the union is going directly at CEO Mary Barra, who makes a mere $22 million a year.
The average GM worker makes about $62,400 a year in base salary, and take-home paychecks during the strike total about $250 a week.
The strike has put about 49,000 workers from 34 different plants nationwide out of work, and the UAW is considering a vote of no confidence on Barra, according to a report by the New York Post. Sources told the Post a no-confidence vote is imminent and the UAW is bracing for negotiations as the strike, which entered its 18th day today, is expected to continue into next week.
Of course, the vote won’t carry much weight with GM or its board of directors, of which Barra is the chair, and is mostly symbolic. However, the UAW sees the vote as an effective way of pressuring Barra, who has a reputation of being a tough negotiator.
UAW leadership believes it was Barra who personally decided to backtrack on a decision to suspend health care coverage for striking workers for fear of bad publicity.
“Internally, there was this theory to stop looking at GM as a corporation and start looking at Mary, because they got the win on health care. And it was her decision,” a source told The Post.
The strike has cost GM about $1 billion so far, according to estimates by JPMorgan & Chase, which say the company loses about $82 million per day.
“Short-term, this is costing them, absolutely,” Center for Automotive Research Vice President Kristin Dziczek said recently. “It goes back to cost versus principles. Are the things that they would have to give to end the strike precedents that they would be living with for decades to come?”
The company can reportedly recover some of its losses by increasing production during the fourth quarter once the strike ends, but it’s still costing the car manufacturer a fortune in lost revenue.