UAW official says member jobs and salary hikes are crucial image

UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell has presented the first official update on the progress of negotiations with one of the Detroit Three automakers, claiming UAW’s main concerns are jobs security and wage hikes.

This year’s contract negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have as top priorities for the United Auto Workers union the protection of jobs and delivery of salary increases. Jewell is the main UAW negotiator at the discussion table with the third largest US automaker – also the world’s seventh biggest. His comments showcase the difficult strategy the union must adopt when calling for gains for the workers while also letting General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler protect labor costs. The main issues are the wages at non-unionized rivals with factories in the United States and the increased competition of the lower-wage Mexico. “As in prior negotiations, we are faced with some tough challenges.” Jewell said. “We are very focused on our membership’s agenda and have job security at the top of our list, along with bridging the gap between our traditional and entry-level members.”

UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles made comments along a similar line just days ago, claiming union members must understand it is mutually beneficial if the companies remain healthy on the long run. For the contract talks, with the current agreements set to expire on September 14, the UAW has committed to bridging the gap between entry level workers that earn up to $19.28 per hour and the veterans hired before 2007 that have an average of $28 per hour.