UAW is turning its full attention next to Chrysler

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 20, 2011

After UAW entered a tentative settlement with General Motors, its focus is now expected to be on Chrysler Group LLC. Chrysler is the smallest automaker in Detroit and its profits are considerably less than either Ford or GM. Chrysler is also more reliant on the market in North America.

It is currently trying to find ways for overall labor costs to be lower. The UAW may use parts of the settlement with GM to establish a mold for wages and benefits with Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. However, it isn’t known yet just how successful this union could be.

It’s expected that the union will choose a lead company to negotiate the best deal, says Autonews. This is then used a template for the two other auto companies. Arthur Schwartz, president of Labor & Economics Associates, a consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Mich., said that Chrysler would be next since applying a GM-Ford pattern on Chrysler doesn’t make any sense.

He explained that in terms of financial strength, Chrysler doesn’t have the cash and it falls behind GM and Ford. A source said that Chrysler and the UAW had plans to have bargaining sessions over the weekend.

Talks failed to prosper last week when UAW President Bob King didn’t attend a meeting set last Wednesday with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who then boarded a plane to Italy on Thursday. He is expected to return to Detroit this coming week. It’s believed that the union's contract with Ford will be dealt with last due to complications that may result from the threat that 41,000 hourly workers there would strike.

Furthermore, the UAW has an ongoing grievance issue that asserts that the company broke a deal for equal treatment of unionized workers and salaried employees by raising the pay of the white-collar workers but not the unionized workers. Last Thursday, a hearing on the grievance with an arbitrator took place.

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