Williams: UAW Must Balance Member, Corporate Demands In Detroit Three Talks

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
williams uaw must balance member corporate demands in detroit three talks

Though the UAW would like to see wages go up as part of its upcoming talks with the Detroit Three, it also wants for the automakers to remain competitive.

UAW president Dennis Williams said as much during an interview with Reuters last week, when he discussed what the union has in store when it comes time to sit down with the management at Ford, FCA US and General Motors this summer.

The main issue will be the two-tier wage system that has been in place since 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The policy has been applied at varying rates since the division took hold, with 42 percent of FCA US’ UAW workers — 35,720 — being paid at the second-tier rate of $15.78 to $19.28 an hour; second-tier workers at Ford and GM make up 28 and 20 percent of their respective 50,700 and 49,900 represented employees.

While the union is facing pressure to get as much for its membership as it can, it also has to make sure the Detroit Three remains viable over the long-term. With GM in particular, the UAW has a major political and institutional stake in the automaker’s well-being, as the union is its largest shareholder via its retiree health care trusts.

That said, should push come to shove, Williams says his membership is ready to strike, following in the footsteps of workers at oil refineries and those along the West Coast ports. The UAW hasn’t conducted a major industrial action since the 1990s, and were barred from striking at all at GM and Chrysler as a result of the agreements made in 2009.

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  • CJinSD CJinSD on Feb 23, 2015

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/21/autoworkers-union-decertified/ The UAW was decertified at an Alabama supplier. The NLRB fought the will of the workers relentlessly, but the workforce wouldn't give up until they kicked organized crime out of their workplace.

  • Buickman Buickman on Feb 23, 2015

    Solidarity Forever? not with Two Tiers it isn't. shame on the unions for allowing this to continue.

  • Conslaw Conslaw on Feb 23, 2015

    Buickman is right, there is a huge conflict between two-tier and the principle of solidarity. Eight years ago the UAW had a really weak bargaining position. There financials of the big three were very weak, and wage cuts were needed, but the union couldn't sell across-the-board wage cuts to the rank and file. They ended up selling the new guys and gals down the river. That's how the cancer that is two-tier got introduced in the system.

  • JD321 JD321 on Feb 23, 2015

    Rote human labor is no longer worth the costs. Keep pushing and more automation will be developed. Robots function just as well in Mexico as they do in Detroit. Even McDonalds is working hard to get rid of their useless liabilities, aka, Employees. Surprisingly, people are willing to pay $5 for a cup of caffeinated sugar mud at Starbucks...So there is some rote labor job security there. Maybe the UAW Parasites can organize[crime] them.