United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams believes that if automakers decided not to hike base wages of their plant workers they would commit an “injustice” – building pressure for the Detroit Three’s approaching renegotiation of contracts later on this year.
He added that even as the union plans to call the executives to raise salaries when negotiations begin, their ultimate goal is to make sure the carmakers remain competitive – since on their profit prospects also hinge the hourly worker’s bonuses at the end of the year. Williams discussed in an interview with Reuters about the union’s approach to this summer’s contract meetings with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In broad lines, the union will push in two major directions: dramatically reduce the current roughly $12-an-hour difference between veteran workers and new hires and also receive the first hike in the hourly base wage for the veterans in around ten years.
Williams said the union was very open to propositions from the automakers on how to achieve the latter goal, including additional or variable pay dividends that accompany profit goals. Both the UAW and the auto companies dread on sandy ground when the negotiations start – with the later quickly punished by investors if they offer uncompetitive deals to the union after their near demise just six years ago. The union also has to care for the members desire to see their salaries raised while also addressing the issue of long-term wage viability for the automakers.