UAW expects Ford will share wealth VP says union will ‘negotiate smart’ in face of $6.6B profit

March 18, 2011
http://detnews.com/article/20110318/AUTO01/103180349

UAW expects Ford will share wealth

VP says union will ‘negotiate smart’ in face of $6.6B profit

DAVID SHEPARDSON
Detroit News Washington Bureau
Wayne — Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers union vice president and director of its Ford Department, said Thursday he doesn’t object to Ford Motor Co.’s decision to award more than $130 million in stock to senior Ford executives.
Settles, at an event at the Michigan Assembly Plant celebrating the new Focus, said the union believes the company will spread the wealth.
“I am going to look at that on the up side and say that I know that they compensated them very well at the top, so I feel that they are going to compensate us at the bottom very well,” he said.
“They believe in fairness.”
Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally received $58.5 million in pretax stock awards this month; Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. received $42.4 million under various incentive programs.
The union is looking for concessions from Ford, which posted a $6.6 billion profit last year, in this year’s negotiations.
“We’re looking for everything — plus,” Settles said. “We’re going to negotiate smart. We’re not going to cut our nose off to spite our face. We’re going to do what’s best for the membership.”
Ford Americas President Mark Fields said the company is committed to making sure all workers enjoy the fruits of the automaker’s success. Ford handed out profit sharing checks this month to hourly workers averaging $5,000.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the UAW’s national bargaining convention in Detroit next week. Settles called the gathering “a barometer to hear what our delegates are thinking about.”
Separately, Settles said he doesn’t think the union would target a Japanese automaker for organizing in the United States, if the company is crippled by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.
“If they are in dire need, we would not be trying to taking advantage of the situation,” Settles told reporters.
dshepardson@detnews.com

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