US: Ford ready to lead the pack in UAW talks image

This July the Detroit Three start what could be their hardest period – the contract talks with the United Automotive Workers union. Ford now feels it has the experience to take point in the negotiations.

The week of July 13 is the scheduled period to commence in earnest the Detroit automakers-UAW discussions and Ford wants to be the first to sign an agreement that would solve the issue of having a more level playing field when it comes to salaries in the auto industry – as the workers are deeply dissatisfied by the two-tier wage system currently in place. While usually very hush-hush, this week crucial dates and details were unveiled about the UAW talks – which need to conclude by September 15 when the current four-year contracts covering up to 140,000 persons are scheduled to expire. The UAW has a new president – Dennis Williams – and the official wants to select a leading company for the bargaining process and then use the agreement as a model for the showoff with the other two Detroit automakers – a practice that has not beene common over the years.

Senior Ford and UAW managers this week issued their first public positions about the reasons why the second largest US carmaker has the best position to be that lead company and then direct the contracts discussed with GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The lead company could have a crucial advantage, setting up some of the terms in its favor form the start – and the results could be key as the three automakers currently have a major wage disparity.