For UAW President Steve Yokich, 1999 will be a crucial year.
He will head negotiations for new national contracts with DaimlerChrysler Corp., Ford Motor Co. and General Motors.
He also will take on General Motors' spinoff of Delphi Automotive Systems and take his board seat at DaimlerChrysler AG.
Yokich, 63, will address the 1999 Automotive News World Congress during the morning of Jan. 12. He will be followed by Steve Girsky, an automotive analyst with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
The toughest task for Yokich, the UAW's leader since 1995, will be GM. UAW members and GM officials still are reeling from this past year's lengthy strikes in Flint, Mich. The strikes shut down the automaker for nearly two months.
The UAW and GM also have fought over the spinoff of Delphi, the GM-owned parts supplier, and how it will affect union workers.
In other matters, Yokich is working to boost the union's membership at supplier companies and to merge the UAW with the United Steelworkers of America and the International Association of Ma-chinists.
Yokich, a tool and die maker by trade, was named to the UAW's Region 1 staff by then-President Walter Reuther in 1969. He became president of Region 1 in 1977. Before becoming president of the international union, Yokich headed the union's GM, Ford and organizing departments.
Girsky, a former analyst on GM's overseas financial staff, has been researching the automotive and tire industries for 13 years.
An annual investor poll by Institutional Investor has ranked Girsky as the top auto/auto parts and tire/rubber analyst for the past seven years.
The Automotive News World Congress runs Jan. 10-13 at the Marriott Renaissance Center (formerly the Westin Hotel) in Detroit. The program includes individual speakers along with panels on such topics as intelligent transportation and the world after Daimler-Chrysler.