that anti-union sentiment is getting really old...
1) the math is wrong, they're adding pension payments to the wages, but don't divide by number of workers plus the pension holders.
2) those companies should've set money aside to pay those pensions when the retirees were still working, they tricked the bookkeepers. Deferred payments only make sense if you actually own the money or are making it. GM cut its workforce from 800,000 to 300,000 in 20yrs.
3) for every 100 assembly lines workers earning 4k$ a month,
there is manager at 40k$ a month,
for every 1000 workers an exec at 400k$
and for every 10,000 a CEO at 4million a month!
This structure adds over 25% to labor costs. These are just guestimates, in reality they are most likely even more top-heavy.
From the numbers quotes on the net, I estimate that for every regular worker earning 30$/hr the management structure adds 15$ in labor cost and another 30$ in pensions/entitlements. How much of the latter is actually overdue golden parachutes from past reorganisations remains the question (remember the lost 500,000). But it is again very likely that only 20$ goes to retired factory workers, the remaining 10$ is for (retired) management.
In other words 4% of the workforce takes home 40% of the money. Highway robbery, plain and simple.
4) Korea has unions, France, Germany, etc. shouldn't their manufacturers be in similar problems? The Europeans are getting loans, but their problems are incomparable in scale or depth, in Korea SsangYoung is dead broke but they are an SUV only company.
5) the general focus on personel cost is disproportionate. It's a smokescreen to distract people from the real reasons they are doing poorly. Again let's do the math:
avg car costs ~20k$ (30k to consumer after distribution, taxes, dealer cost)
GM builds ~8million cars/yr
employs 300,000 * 120k$/yr= 36B$ wages/yr
spread over 8million cars= 4,5k$ wages/car, QED.
Note that in these numbers all employees are averaged across the globe.
GM only employs half it's workforce in NA, but has local plants in China, Korea, Australia and most importantly EU.
Their revenue is 182B$, they are losing money. In fact 38B$ this year
At the rate of the current losses, even cutting all legacy costs to all UAW retirees is not going to make them profitable, neither would cutting all wages in half, or even getting rid of their CEO and his corporate jet
In fact GM's workers would need to work for free for GM to even get in the black.
Note I've had to use GM, because they are a publicly traded company. Figures for a private company such as those for Chrysler/Cerberus are not public. But trust me when I say Chrysler cannot be in a better state than GM.