UAW prepares to open contract talks with Detroit automakers this summer

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 10, 2011

There’s an impending shift in how the UAW will handle the contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group as the union is considering a wider use of profit sharing rather than have fixed wage hikes for members.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed UAW President Bob King last Thursday. King said that the union will study the issue when the formal talks start in late July. The labor agreements are set to expire on Sept. 14.

Traditionally, the UAW has opposed moves to tie large portions of the workers’ salaries to profits since that would mean that they will suffer during economic downturns as they will get lower payouts.

During the talks, King will also be asking for the $7,000 to $30,000 in concessions that workers each gave up since 2005 in order to help the automakers continue to exist. Back then, the union gave up bonuses, raises, and cost-of-living adjustments.

In addition, the UAW accepted a two-tier wage system. This means that new employees receive about $14 an hour, which is half of what’s paid to longtime production workers.

The UAW also agreed to not hold strikes against GM and Chrysler until 2015. King made a speech in northern Michigan last week, asserting that the union wants the automakers succeed and to do that, it will seek a "moderate, pragmatic and inclusive" path.

Topics: uaw, united states

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