US: UAW union seeking ways to sever discrepancy between salaries at the Detroit automakers image

UAW’s president Dennis Williams has said loud and clear that one of its crucial tasks during the ongoing contract negotiations to “bridge the gap” between entry level and veteran workers.

His resolve is heading towards at least making steps towards the future elimination of the two-tier employment system – in a bid to completely eliminate the difference between workers hired before and after 2007. So far, after the first handshakes between union representatives and GM and FCA executives, it’s not immediately clear how will the message get through. According to analysts and industry experts, the UAW could have at least four key methods of renegotiating the contract that is set to expire on September 14. Naturally, all options aren’t equal and all have their fair share of issues and probable drawbacks. Additionally, all three Detroit automakers want salaries to remain competitive, even though union leadership points how all of them are posting their best financial results in years.

First off – find a compromise. That means the UAW would convince GM, Ford and FCA to lift the entry level top salary to a higher point and stop bumping the wage of veteran workers – and as the latter retire the tier 1.5 would remain the only one available. Option two: a long-term, multi-step road towards lifting all entry level workers to the veteran status, similar to what Unifor, the Canadian union managed to achieve with the Detroit Three. Option three – adjust the level of entry-workers. That means once a certain percentage of new hires is achieved, others would be immediately relegated to the top status. Option four: completely get rid of the two-tier wage. That would mean all workers are bumped to the veteran status and the Second Tier is completely eliminated.