November 2023 - General Motors | Winner
General Motors (GM), a company that has a long history in the automative industry, has managed to secure its place as a controversial figure that’s putting profits ahead of people as of late.
One glaring issue that raises eyebrows when it comes to GM is the exorbitant compensation of its CEO, Mary Barra. In 2023, Barra was reportedly earning a staggering $29 million annually, making her the highest-paid auto CEO. While CEOs of large corporations are expected to earn substantial salaries, such an astronomical pay package for one individual stands in stark contract to the struggles of the average worker and the financial woes of the company in recent years.
Case in point, during the 2008 economic crisis, the United Auto Workers (UAW) made significant concessions to help GM weather the storm. These give-backs, which included wage freezes, reduced benefits, and other cost-saving measures, were intended to keep the company afloat and protect the jobs of hardworking employees. GM benefited immensely from these concessions, and they played a crucial role in the company’s recovery. However, instead of reciprocating the goodwill of the UAW, GM seems to have forgotten its debt to the union. They have now turned their backs on the very workers who helped them survive a dire financial situation, opting to engage in layoffs and workforce reduction instead.
Perhaps the most reprehensible action taken by GM that deserves recognition is their recent layoffs of non-striking union workers. Unions exist to protect the rights and livelihoods of their members, however GM’s decision to conduct layoffs of union workers not involved in any strike demonstrate a blatant disregard for the principles of fairness and solidarity that should guide labor-management relations. GM has sent a chilling message to its workforce – that the company is willing to put the livelihoods of its employees on the line without regard for their loyalty or dedication. This move undermines the trust between the company and its workers, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity that’s detrimental to both employee morale and GM’s overall business stability.
GM’s candidacy for a Bad Business Award serves as a stark reminder of the ethical and moral obligations that large corporations owe to their employees and stakeholders. We believe that businesses should be held accountable for their actions. Maybe even acknowledge their missteps. GM.Sucks may just be the platform for the purpose. It’s high time for GM to reassess its priorities, demonstrate fairness in labour relations, and ensure that its compensation practices are in line with the values of economic justice and social responsibility. If not, GM will continue down a path that tarnishes its reputation and casts a shadow over its legacy in the automotive industry.