http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200709/NAT20070925c.html Auto Workers' Strike May Devastate GM Workers By Randy Hall CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor September 25, 2007 (CNSNews.com) - Thousands of United Auto Workers began walking picket lines on Monday, in their first national strike since 1976. Negotiations between the union and the country's largest automaker broke down over job security and health care. Yet some labor analysts viewed the strike as one of the last gasps of a dying union movement. SNIp Jacobson also called the union's decision to call the strike "puzzling" because the action "endangers one of the major employers that feed and clothe their members." He also said there is "a rich irony" in the UAW demanding job security and then allowing members to make what could be a devastating walkout. SNIP On its Web site, GM stated that hourly workers at the company in 2006 received about $73.26 per hour worked, a combination of $39.68 in cash compensation and $33.58 in benefits and programs required by the government. Those figures indicate that without benefits, the average hourly worker takes in $82,534.40 per year, or $152,380.80 when factoring in such items as health care and five weeks of vacation. The document also states that under the previous contract, a GM vehicle assembler earned a base rate of $26.09 per hour, or $54,267.20 per year not including benefits. "Fundamentally, the problem is that the Big Three's labor costs are way out of line with what you see at their foreign rivals operating in the U.S.," which pay workers an average of $44 in wages and benefits, James Sherk, labor policy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Cybercast News Service. "With cost differentials like that, the Big Three are hemorrhaging money," he said. "Just this year, they lost their majority share in the market. It's not that GM is being cold-hearted and mean, it's just that they don't have the money."