UAW, GM to set the pattern for wages and benefits for the U.S. industry

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 6, 2011

Insiders revealed that the UAW, which is negotiating a new contract for U.S. automakers, is relying on General Motors Co. to establish the pattern for wages and benefits for the U.S. workers. One source said that UAW bargainers want a big signing bonus and new work in U.S. factories.

In exchange, they will not raise fixed labor costs at the Detroit 3 (GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. It is believed that GM’s negotiations are the farthest along and will continue in the weekend. The union's contracts that cover 113,000 workers at GM, Ford and Chrysler will expire Sept. 14.

According to UAW President Bob King, there remains a possibility that deals at all three companies will meet the deadline, says Bloomberg. He also said that the talks will continue at Ford and Chrysler the following. Two insiders say that GM wants to have new-hires that are willing to be paid half of what the other workers get.

GM is offering buyouts so that senior workers would retire. Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said that it is expected that GM would be the lead company since it is the largest and has a “renewed health,” aside from being willing to work with the UAW.

Shaiken said that GM demonstrates its desire to reach a deal. The insiders said that the amount of the signing bonuses has yet to be disclosed. In the last contract talks in 2007, the bonuses totaled $3,000 for workers at GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Traditionally, UAW chooses one automaker to make a deal that is later used as a template with the other two automakers. Shaiken explained that this type of pattern bargaining has resulted to wages and benefits coming close to parity among the three car companies.

Topics: gm, uaw

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