US: General Motors to start contract talks with the UAW on July 13, FCA US the following day image

This summer could prove scorching for the Detroit three automakers and the UAW union as the opposing forces are scheduled to meet in the usual four-year contract negotiations period.

The bargaining talks between the United Auto Workers union and the three top US automakers are scheduled to begin July 13, with the automotive industry in the healthiest position in at least a decade, especially counting North America. The ceremonial handshakes and press photos are scheduled on July 13 for General Motors, July 14 for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and July 23 for the second largest US carmaker, Ford. The dates were announced amid a discussion headed by the Center for Automotive Research in Detorit about the implications of the upcoming talks.

The three automakers have registered very healthy profits – especially in the US – in recent years as the UAW members agreed to remain at lower salaries – but now the main issue for debate will be to lower or eliminate the gap between UAW workers hired by the automakers before or after 2007. Kristin Dziczek, director of the Center for Automotive Research’s industry and labor group, forecasted during the meeting that the UAW union might allow as much as eight years of phase out time to eliminate completely the difference between first and second-tier workers. The union is also expected to ask for a limit on new hires with the starting salary of $15.78 an hour – Ford has already accepted a 20 percent limit back in 2011, while GM and FCA have no margin.