Former Vice President Mike Pence turned to “free enterprise” talk after CNN’s Jake Tapper confronted him with examples of pay disparities between CEOs and employees during the United Auto Workers strike.
In an interview with Pence on Sunday, Tapper asked the Republican presidential candidate about a “matter of overall fairness” when he addressed the pay disparity after employees began a strike against the “Big Three” automakers on Friday.
“In 1965, in this era of great middle class expansion in the United States, CEOs earned about 20 times what their typical workers earned. But as I mentioned before, the CEO of [General Motors] earns 362 times what their typical employees earn,” Tapper noted before asking Pence.
“I just want to make sure I get an answer from you. Is that ok? Do you think that’s fair?”
Pence told Tapper that it should be left up to GM shareholders.
“I am someone who believes in free enterprise. I think these are decisions that can be made by shareholders and create pressure,” Pence said.
He continued: “And I will fully support the way these listed companies operate. I’m not interested in government regulations or government bullying when it comes to issues like this.”
The strike – which 75% of Americans support – marks the first time the UAW union has participated in a simultaneous work stoppage at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
Around 150,000 union members work at the three car manufacturers, others are also dependent on production at the companies.
UAW President Shawn Fain pointed to the starting hourly wage of an Ohio plant worker compared to GM CEO Mary Barra’s wage, adding that a new hire “I would have to work full time for 16 years to earn anything“Barra will do it in a week.
Pence, who blamed it Hit Biden’s economic policiessaid he didn’t believe the strike was about “the usual fault lines” of pay disparities between employees and workers.
Asked whether he was on the side of the CEOs or the union, the former vice president said: “I am on the side of the American workers. I stand with all American families. I stand with the people of this country, Jake, who are living under the failed policies of the Biden administration.'”