US: tension looming over Ford-UAW official contract handshake image

Ford, the second largest US automaker, and the UAW union are scheduled to officially begin the process of negotiating the workers’ contracts later on today during an event in Detroit.

The ceremonial handshake should come up with a constructive working relationship, even though tensions are looming. Key UAW officials and Ford’s top ranking executives will be present for the formal start of contract negotiations just two weeks after the Dearborn-based carmaker delivered a blow and announced it would relegate the manufacturing process of the Focus compact car from the US to Mexico. Traditionally, the ceremonial event should be all smiles and handshakes as they are typically orchestrated in an attempt to show a close working relationship between the union and the automakers – and that was the case last week at the similar events with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Ford’s ceremonial talks kick off will be held Thursday at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where most likely it will all be warm and fuzzy as relationships are now way better than in the past between the union and the companies. But there will be important future questions to be answered – is there a future for Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, where the Focus is built today and will there be more Mexico plants constructed by Ford and its Detroit peers? Numerous automakers are today building or inaugurating plants in Mexico rather than in the US and global carmakers have usually used anti-union Southern states when mulling a manufacturing facility in America.