Come September, the United Auto Workers’ contracts with Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors will expire. Although each of the automakers hopes they can avoid intensive negotiations, recent comments from UAW president Bob King suggest the talks with Ford may be a little trickier than originally thought.
King specifically hopes CEO Alan Mulally, who recently raked in $26.5 million in compensation and a $56.5 million stock reward last year, will see the reported disadvantage he has put himself and his company in. If the automaker can provide its top brass with such a reward, King reasons, why can’t it do the same for its rank-and-file workers, as well?
“Alan Mulally is a good CEO,” King told Automotive News. “He’s done a lot of good. But he has a blind spot. He does not see the harm he’s doing to his own cachet within both the hourly and salaried at Ford. What he’s doing is making it more difficult for us for the upcoming negotiations.”
It should be noted that Ford did, in fact, did issue profit sharing checks for its hourly employee base at the end of 2010. According to the automaker, those checks averaged close to $5000 an employee.
Other than pushing for a seat on Ford’s board (along with similar positions at the other two Detroit automakers), King shied away from disclosing what his organization is seeking from the automaker at this point. He does note that under the current contract, Ford’s 42,000 UAW members have the option to strike if the union’s demands aren’t met, something their colleagues at General Motors and Chrysler cannot do.
There have been various reports that even though King’s feelings toward Mulally may be slightly sour, talks with Ford have been moving along and negotiations could end early. AN, however, notes while King hopes he can avoid “intense negotiation” with only a single automaker (instead crafting agreements that generally work for all three), he doesn’t see a point of prematurely coming to an agreement.
“Relationships are really good, and we’re going to try to problem solve,” he said. “But there are a lot of problems and a lot of issues to work through, so I don’t know if it would be realistic to think that anything would get done early.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)