The United Automotive Workers union has announced it’s getting ready to select the target automaker for the contract talks before the current one expires on September 14.
The current four-year agreement with the three Detroit automakers – General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – will expire soon, so the union needs to select the front runner for the agreement before that happens. The union will select one of the companies and will exclusively negotiate with them in order to establish a pattern for the major economic terms that would be discussed separately with each of the three groups, according to UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg who announced the timeframe in a recent interview. And for the first time during the past decade or so, the union and its partners – GM, Ford and FCA US – will have agreements that are not surrounded in clouds of economic issues. On the other hand, the three companies will seek to curb labor spending, mainly because they fear that after six years of uninterrupted expansion the US economy might have come close to another peak.
But the union has a different view – after suffering through years of stalled pays and with the automakers posting record profits in North America – the need to have some sort of payback. “It’s our time. It’s our moment. It is us in solidarity,” commented UAW President Dennis Williams during the traditional Labor Day speech in Detroit. The negotiations will handle the contract terms for the next four years of at least 140,000 workers, which – according to figures from the Center for Automotive Research – make up around $17 billion in salaries and benefits.