The UAW union and its new president, Dennis Williams, have a crucial year ahead, as they set up the pace to negotiate the contract of represented workers with the three Detroit automakers.
The trio of US carmakers are seeing their best times since before the start of the new century and the UAW will need to carefully manage the huge expectations that arose from the spectacular US recovery that comes after years of crucial sacrifices. The negotiations are also scheduled in troubled times: certain states such as Michigan have reintroduced right-to-work legislation and at two automakers the right to strike has been restored. 2015 is the year that the UAW – a union established by Walter Reuther – will renegotiate the worker wages with the three Detroit Big, the state of Michigan and John Deere. These account for around 43 percent of the workforce that now stands at 400,000 UAW members.
Additionally, this week will see around 900 delegates that belong to at least 800 local unions and represent employees of around 1,500 firms are meeting in Detroit with UAW’s top executives to present their key priorities during the upcoming contract talks. The UAW Special Convention on Collective Bargaining, an event that comes every four years, will be a forum that allows rank-and-file members to bring their contribution to the union’s negotiating queries. The two-day convention begins Tuesday morning at the Cobo Center, the traditional location for the year’s first international auto show – NAIAS. The contract bargains are also on the backdrop of GM and FCA US (previously Chrysler Group LLC) restoring to the union the right to strike – a concession made back when the automakers were restructuring from bankruptcy.