- THE MAGAZINE
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
But the research group’s projected 2015 total employment figure for the Detroit automakers still pales in comparison to the industry’s heyday. In the late 1970s, the Detroit Three employed more than 1 million workers in the United States. The industry-wide rehiring also will pressure the automakers to address the existing two-tier wage structure with the United Auto Workers union, which is expected to be a point of increasing tension in coming years, particularly if the automakers continue to maintain their profitability trends. Currently, newly hired UAW workers start at an average of about $14 per hour, about half of what tenured union workers earn. The recently ratified labor contracts between the UAW and the Detroit automakers do provide for gradually raising the figure to about $19 per hour by the end of the contract in 2015.