The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Auto Companies Have Plenty of Money—for Wealthy Owners

Feb 12, 2024

With great fanfare and a lot of media publicity, Ford announced their yearly profit-sharing payouts to their UAW hourly workers. At the very same time, the financial media quietly reported that Ford would be paying an EXTRA dividend on top of their regular quarterly dividend to all their stockholders.

The total amount of money that Ford is giving to the stockholders will be 1.34 billion dollars, which is more than double the total amount of profit-sharing paid out to all of Ford’s 57,000 hourly workers.

GM did their stockholders even better. They had already announced they will be giving their stockholders a 10 billion dollar stock buyback, plus increasing their dividend payments by 33%. GM’s stock buyback alone will give the stockholders about 18 times as much as the total amount of profit-sharing paid out to all 45,000 GM hourly workers.

Where are these billions of dollars going? It is not going to the ordinary people who might happen to own a few shares of Ford and GM stock. It is going to the real owners of Ford and GM. Most of the stock is held by big Wall Street investment firms. In fact, the big investment firms who own Ford—Vanguard Group, BlackRock Inc., and State Street Global Advisors—also happen to be the biggest owners of GM. The same wealthy people are getting rich off the labor of both Ford and GM workers—the workers who built all those vehicles and produced all the profits.

During the UAW strike against the Big Three auto companies, the bosses were crying that they could not afford to pay what the union leaders were asking for. But as soon as the strike was over, suddenly the auto companies had billions of dollars to give to wealthy people who didn’t build a single car or truck. That’s something for autoworkers to remember the next time they are ready to fight for what they rightfully deserve.