UAW head Ron Gettelfinger told the media that entry-level auto workers making $14 an hour don't make enough to buy one of their own products.

United Auto Workers union chief Ron Gettelfinger indicated yesterday that the $14 per hour base wage earned by an entry-level worker building Chrysler, Ford and General Motors products isn't enough to buy a new car.

The argument comes nearly 90 years after Henry Ford began paying workers $5 per day in hopes that the workers would be able to afford one of their own products, a Ford Model T.

Gettelfinger said that it's a "fair question" whether or not auto workers can afford the products they're assembling. An economist for Comerica, Dana Johnson, confirmed Gettelfinger's comments by saying that a single income UAW worker making $14 per hour probably can't afford a new car.

But a dual income family? "Then they could clearly afford a new car," Johnson told the Detroit News.

The UAW negotiated the $14 hourly rate in 2007 and, despite his concern that workers can't live up to the standard promised by Henry Ford, Gettelfinger nonetheless defended the concessions. More tenured workers earn more than double the $14 hourly rate.

"We did what we had to do to get to tomorrow," Gettelfinger said.

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