UAW wants unions to be represented in boards of GM, Ford, Chrysler

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 4, 2011

With regards to the 2011 contract negotiations, UAW President Bob King shared that he wants union representation on the boards of the Detroit 3. He sees the German auto industry as a model for a closer partnership with the domestic automakers.

UAW and the automakers are in advanced discussions about key issues in the talks, which officially started after July 4. The current four-year agreements expire in September 2011.

Historically, the UAW has backed away from board representation, in part to maintain its independence from management.

However, King has softened the UAW's arm's-length approach to management, and said a partnership with the automakers is the best way to ensure job security and create new jobs for UAW members.

The automakers are open to shop-floor cooperation, but offering a board seat would mean a cultural shift for Detroit 3 management. Professor of labor relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., Gary Chaison, said a UAW seat on the board could lead to several difficult issues.

For example, it will be a tricky issue when the board would have to talk about collective bargaining or sensitive competitive strategies. [via autonews - sub. required]

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