The summer contract discussions are already shaping up to be some of the most contentious negotiations to date between the UAW union and the three Detroit automakers – GM, Ford and FCA US.
According to industry experts and analysts, strong personalities, experienced managers and newcomers might be the “wild cards” at the negotiations table between the United Automotive Workers union and the three major US carmakers. Sergio Marchionne, a well-known shout-out speaker, could play a crucial role as a wild card and newcomers such as UAW’s Norwood Jewell and FCA US labor chief Glenn Shagena should be also considered. FCA’s negotiations could be clouded by Marchionne’s strong personality and his current global tie-up desire, while the newcomers are tasked in both sides key roles. Norwood Jewell is for the first time the union representative leader and Glenn Shagena was just appointed as the employee relations leader after the surprise departure on June 9 of long-time executive Al Iacobelli. On the other end of the spectrum sits Ford’s Mark Fields – a chief executive officer that has ample experience after leading the Americas unit before his ascension to the top leadership position. He also has on his team men that in the past oversaw negotiations – Joe Hinrichs, John Fleming and top negotiator Bill Dirksen. On the other side sits senior statesman Jimmy Settles, on his third mandate heading the Ford UAW unit.
Somewhere in the middle is seen General Motors – led by its new chief executive officer Mary Barra, while the negotiations table is filled with women – UAW rising star Cindy Estrada opposes the automaker’s Cathy Clegg. And the UAW is headed by president Dennis Williams, a seasoned negotiator as well.