Ford – UAW Contract: Strike or No Strike?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

When the Detroit uses the word “misunderstanding” in the lede graph of a story about The United Auto Workers (UAW), you just know there is some serious negotiation, posturing, ass-covering and ass-kicking going on behind the scenes. In this case, it seems that the union’s members are not happy about a no-strike clause in their proposed contract with Ford. “The Detroit News has learned that the [no-strike] language, which was included in recent contract changes the UAW negotiated with General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, was mandated by the Obama administration as a condition of its bailout of the two companies. It was designed to ensure the competitive gains that were forced through by the White House could not be reversed in 2011 contract negotiations between GM and Chrysler and the UAW, according to people familiar with the situation.” What’s this got to do with Ford? Can you say “pattern bargaining?” It seems that the UAW, who practically invented the term, can’t quite bring themselves to use it now. Or keep their members in the loop.

Dissident leader Gary Walkowicz, a bargaining committee member at UAW Local 600 who represents workers at Dearborn Truck, said union leaders already abandoned pattern bargaining by granting additional concessions to GM and Chrysler.

“If they want a pattern agreement, they should bring GM and Chrysler back up to where we’re at,” he said, adding that he opposes any limits on the union’s right to stop working.

“It strikes at the very heart of what a union is. Without it, they’ll have no reason to protect our pay and benefits.”

Walkowicz accused union leaders of purposely delaying the vote at his factory until next Friday so that a “no” vote there would not encourage other plants to oppose ratification. At the same time, some workers at factories that have approved the agreement are accusing union leaders of vote fraud. As a result, Walkowicz is calling on national UAW leaders to open vote counting to rank-and-file members.

The UAW would not comment, but local leaders, including UAW Local 600 President Jerry Sullivan, accuse dissidents of spreading “misinformation” about the no-strike language to prevent ratification.

Ain’t politics grand? Meanwhile, I wonder how oversight over the UAW’s VEBA gazillions is going right about now. Anyone looking into that?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • BDB BDB on Oct 25, 2009

    no_slusbox-- I'm a city planner. There's really no private sector equivalent so I can't compare (well, maybe my arch-nemesis--the developer. Well, sort of, and I guarantee you they make more) That link you sent me pretty much makes it look like a wash overall. In some professions the private sector pays more, in some professions the public sector does. But do those salary numbers include benefits along with paychecks? All I know is that my friends in the private sector were doing much better than me financially until the recession. Now they're envious. I'm sure the worm will turn the other way, again, in two years though. I picked security over earning potential, and for now I'm glad I did. And I also agree with you that the public sector SHOULD pay less. One should enter government to serve the public, not to become wealthy.

  • Geeber Geeber on Oct 26, 2009
    BDB: There’s really no private sector equivalent so I can’t compare (well, maybe my arch-nemesis–the developer. Well, sort of, and I guarantee you they make more) Developers are typically the CEO of their respective companies, so the comparable position to a developer would be the mayor (or county executive). The developer probably makes more money than the mayor, but his/her salary is probably also much riskier and more cyclical in nature. BDB: All I know is that my friends in the private sector were doing much better than me financially until the recession. It depends...I know that, before the recession, my friends in the private sector had higher SALARIES, but also had no pensions - if they wanted a retirement account, they had to put money in their 401(k). If they were lucky, their employer made a matching contribution. They also had to pay more for their health benefits. At the end of the day, they didn't necessarily have more money to spend than I did - at least, if they were thinking of the future by contributing to their 401(k)s.
  • Dave M. IMO this was the last of the solidly built MBs. Yes, they had the environmentally friendly disintegrating wiring harness, but besides that the mechanicals are pretty solid. I just bought my "forever" car (last new daily driver that'll ease me into retirement), but a 2015-16 E Class sedan is on my bucket list for future purchase. Beautiful design....
  • Rochester After years of self-driving being in the news, I still don't understand the psychology behind it. Not only don't I want this, but I find the idea absurd.
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  • Formula m How many Hyundai and Kia’s do not have the original engine block it left the factory with 10yrs prior?
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