German auto workers build twice as many cars as U.S. — for twice the wage

“…In 2010, Germany turned out 5.5 million cars, more than twice the 2.7 million produced in the U.S. that year.
They did it while paying their workers an average $67.14 hourly wage including benefits, twice the $33.77 per hour auto workers in the U.S. got.

And Germany’s “Big Three” – Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW – still managed to rake in massive profits.

Don’t chalk it up to German engineering: an article from e-journal Remapping Debate says it has more to do with the work environment and attitude, says Forbes.  “The salient difference is that, in Germany, the automakers operate within an environment that precludes a race to the bottom; in the U.S., they operate within an environment that encourages such a race,” said author Kevin C. Brown.

The union-management relationship in the U.S. is us-versus-them, whereas in Germany they frequently have worker-management “works councils” that collaborate on fixing working conditions and the like, Brown explains. Though nearly every German autoworker is part of the country’s national union, they rarely ever strike.

Unfortunately, this sort of management philosophy doesn’t tend to manifest itself in German automakers’ U.S. factories.”

December 28, 2011 , by Nicholas Maronese

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