Cyclops, I don't know why we should exclude the retirement packages for current retirees. This is a cost that GM has to incur.
I have always understood that Joe Blow the headlight installer doesn't make $73/hour. But that doesn't change the fact that GM has to pay $73 in employee costs for every hour of production that it's workers produce.
And like I said in subsequent posts to the one you quoted, Joe Blow the headlight installer DOES still make 45% more than his Toyota counterpart, in real hourly pay/benefits.
Just because Toyota doesn't have a these costs (probably due to smarter management decisions, or the lack of the UAW) doesn't mean that you can simply choose to ignore them on the GM side.
You conveniently forget that much of the 'employee costs' come from being in business twice or three times as long as the Japanese companies. Their retirement costs have risen as their companies expand and they will continue to do so. The '70-whatever' dollar per hour figure is misleading at best, b/c it purports to show that each worker
is receiving that much in benefits. That's completely untrue. Using the actual number the worker earns would give a better picture of what the wages are.
I think the UAW was correct in asking the salaries to be lowered over time, instead of drastic drops immediately. Drastic drops make their employees just as screwed as if they lose their jobs anyways; imagine being told that you will be getting 20-30% less starting soon, and your family is already on the edge of viability.
And, were there any drops in CEO pay being discussed? In management salaries being cut? I didn't see any. The head of Ford makes 90 Million a year; was there any mention of cutting that down? I sure didn't hear it in any of the proposals. Sort of hypocritical to mandate that one end give up their salaries while doing nothing for the other end.