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UAW Plans Flexible Turnaround

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On: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 3:06PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


UAW Plans Flexible Turnaround

President of the United Auto Workers Bob King reported this week that the UAW intends to ensure that members share the profit in Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, and General Motors in 2011.

According to Automotive news, King stated: “The union wants the workers to share in the turnarounds at the U.S. automakers in a way that does not put the companies 'back in a cycle of uncompetitiveness' that left them struggling in recent years."

In a recent interview with Reuters, King was quoted as saying, "There are a number of different approaches" to achieve that, including "flexible compensation, whether it is profit-sharing or gain-sharing."

UAW contracts have enabled automakers to lower wages (entry level auto workers now make about half the hourly wage that seasoned workers earn), and provide for less benefits, due to the automotive industry crisis that started back in 2007.

The latest news is that the UAW will be writing a new contract with the intention of “rolling back some of those concessions in contract talks next year,” according to Automotive News.

The negotiations that will begin to plan for a future increase in auto workers pay and benefits are a result of the major players, Ford and GM both, projecting a profit in 2010. Chrysler said that the company would have been profitable as well if it was not for the interest on the bailout loans.

Bob King was elected president of the organization after the UAW’s negotiations with Ford. King said, “the auto industry crisis reinforced in the union the need to work with the automakers on quality, productivity and costs.” King stated: "we know long term that is the only way we will protect our pensions, our jobs, our healthcare.”

According to Automotive News: “The extent of the potential for a rollback in union concessions next year is a major uncertainty for investors ahead of GM's landmark IPO that is set for November.”

The Obama administration is encouraging the profit-sharing plan for UAW workers, but Steve Rattner, Obama’s former point man on the auto bailout, stated that King should be encouraged to avoid the “full rollback of concessions.”

From 1979 the UAW’s membership numbers have plummeted from 1.5 million to less than 400,000 in 2009. Some experts feel that Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors’ plan to build cars in the United States may help to increase the number of union jobs thus strengthening future UAW numbers.

Bob King stated he was “very confident” that the UAW would be represented at Fisker’s Delaware plant where the electric hybrid will be assembled. It is questionable as to whether the UAW will represent workers at the NUMMI plant in California where Tesla plans to build electric cars, according to King.




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