Ford Motor Co. COO Jim Padilla said on Thursday that the Chrysler group's plan to give some suppliers ownership in a key new assembly plant provides a new approach for the industry - one that requires UAW help.
Chrysler group's proposed $1.2 billion Toledo plant - where suppliers will finance, own and run major areas of the plant - requires "changes in the way the UAW looks at things."
"But the good news is that we have UAW leadership who is willing to take a crack at that and ask how can we make this a win-win situation,'' Padilla said following his speech to the Management Briefing Seminars.
Padilla did not say whether Ford and the UAW were discussing any similar moves.
While Padilla says he does not expect a revolutionary change in UAW thinking, he says the UAW "leadership understands the competitive situation with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler group to come up with a creative solution."
Padilla also singled out the union in his call for help with skyrocketing health care costs. "Yes, this is an arena where the UAW has a lot of interest and we are working with them on making sure their voice is being heard."
He also called on supplier executives in the audience to help with the health care situation. "You should be very vocal from your company's stand point," he urged.
"No single company can do this alone."