In contract talks with the Detroit 3, the UAW will seek to boost the pay of veteran Tier 1 workers, who, union officials point out, haven't had a wage increase in a decade.
But that doesn't mean their pay hasn't gone up.
According to figures compiled by Art Schwartz, a former GM labor negotiator and now a consultant, both Tier 1 and entry-level Tier 2 workers have added significant income to their standard wages over the life of the current contract.
At a briefing last month hosted by the Center for Automotive Research, Schwartz said the bonuses and profit-sharing sums put more in workers' pockets than if they had gotten a 3 percent annual raise under the 2011 agreement.
And he suggests that the union keep the companies' bottom line in mind when negotiating this summer: "There's no profit sharing if there's no profits."