In anticipation of next year's labor contract negotiations, the United Auto Workers are talking to General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC about changes that would lead to workers getting a larger share of rising profits.
General Holiefield, head of the UAW's Chrysler department, said that it wants the “best possible bang for all of the employees, across the board.” He insists that this would not be a program that would “pay some and not the others.”
Two sources said that the formal talks haven’t started but already, the union leaders and executives from the automakers have raised the topic of changes in profit-sharing terms.
In fact, high-level discussions were started several months ago since they considered this issue to be very significant and as such, would need more time. In an interview, Holiefield said that the companies that have hinted at profit-sharing changes include the Big Three.
He said that UAW President Bob King “has got to get his arms around it.” Last year, the union agreed to mid-contract concessions, including giving up full pay for idled workers, before the bankruptcies of Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp.
The union said that UAW's four-year labor agreements with GM, Ford, and Chrysler expire on Sept. 14, 2011. Typically, formal talks start several weeks before the expiration of the contracts.