The UAW is making progress in its efforts to organize transplant automakers, according to UAW President Bob King who was a speaker at the 2011 Management Briefing Seminars. King asserted that most overseas automakers are agreeable to entering confidential talks on the possibility that the UAW will organize their U.S. factories.
King reiterated the UAW's plan to organize a minimum of one transplant for this year. King believes that automakers are now getting comfortable enough to meet with the union.
King said that what they hope transplant workers will understand is that those who work in facilities that are represented by the UAW have a “much greater voice, are treated with more respect and have more protection and security."
In a separate matter, King said that the talks with the Detroit 3 for a new labor agreement are also making progress. The talks officially started last week as the UAW's contracts with the Detroit 3 are set to expire on Sept. 14.
King said that the union is faced with the challenge of making sure that its members get more money as long as automakers’ profitability isn’t affected. The UAW is also avoiding limiting job growth at the plants in the U.S. Approximately 113,000 workers at the Detroit 3 are represented by the UAW. King said that hourly employees are deserving of a wage hike, the first since 2003.
However, King said that there may be more progress made if salaries are raised through profit sharing and other varying forms of compensation.
He explained that the union is considering pegging hourly bonuses to the overall profitability of the Detroit 3 as well as operating metrics like attendance, warranty cost reductions, improved quality and waste reduction. The UAW is also hoping to raise the wages of entry-level workers who get about $14 an hour, about half the rate that traditional autoworkers get.