Likely UAW target: The profitable Ford

Likely UAW target: The profitable Ford
David Barkholz
Automotive News | March 21, 2011 – 12:01 am EST

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is likely to be the first of the Detroit 3 targeted for contract negotiations by the UAW this summer, union leaders and labor experts said last week.

Ford is the most profitable of the Detroit 3. And only Ford hourly workers among the Detroit 3 refused during 2009 concessions to give up the right to strike when the current four-year contracts expire in September.

The UAW will start the negotiating season this week with its quadrennial special bargaining convention in Detroit. Formal talks typically begin after July 4, and the target company is selected around Labor Day.

The UAW will fight for raises and a restoration of cost-of-living allowances, said Art Schwartz, a Detroit-area consultant who was a General Motors labor negotiator until he retired in 2009. The Detroit 3 would prefer increases to be in the form of annual bonuses, he said.

One UAW official said Ford workers are not likely to approve any contract unless it restores all concessions made in 2009. Those include suspension of COLA, a $600 Christmas bonus and a performance bonus that would have paid 3 percent of base earnings in 2010 had it not been suspended.

“We won’t pass a contract unless we get everything back,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

UAW and Ford spokeswomen last week declined to comment on collective-bargaining issues.

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