UAW dissidents are organizing to fight what they expect will be a new round of contract concessions at Ford Motor Co.
Ford hourly workers, who made concessions just in March, should not give more to bring their deal in line with more stringent givebacks negotiated afterward by General Motors and Chrysler, said Gary Walkowicz, who is a UAW Local 600 committeeman at Fords Dearborn Truck Plant.
This month, UAW Local 900 President Anderson Robinson Jr. said Ford negotiators would meet Aug. 25 with UAW International representatives to discuss additional possible contract changes.
Robinson told Automotive News that workers were resistant to more concessions given Fords market share gains and profitability in the second quarter. He said the union wants more UAW jobs created by supplier work being moved in-house for consideration of contract changes.
Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans confirmed that the company and the union are meeting this week. "We're talking to them about ways we can remain competitive," Evans said.
She wouldn't comment on whether Ford is seeking the same concessions the UAW gave to GM and Chrysler in bankruptcy. But when asked about the concessions gained by crosstown rivals, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has said that Ford won't be disadvantaged.
Walkowicz, 59, says Ford workers have given enough already. Concessions just lead to more concessions, he said.
The biggest difference between the Ford deal and those negotiated by the UAW at GM and Chrysler is a no-strike clause for the 2011 contract talks, Walkowicz said. That clause requires items that cant be resolved through negotiations to be settled by an arbitrator.
You give up the right to strike and you lose all your bargaining power, Walkowicz said. That would be insane.
GM, in particular, also negotiated to pay much less in cash and more in stock to settle its retiree health care obligations than Ford.
GM, which sought bankruptcy protection June 1 and emerged July 10, prompted the UAW to take just $2.5 billion in cash to fund a retiree health care trust known as a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association. GMs total obligation to the VEBA was $20 billion.
By contrast, Ford is paying $6.6 billion in cash for a total $13.2 billion obligation.
Walkowicz says he is networking with workers in other Ford plants to resist new concessions. The local union representative has a letter on the dissident Web site, soldiersofsolidarity.com, asking workers to organize against more givebacks.
The Dearborn Truck Plant, which makes more of F-150 pickups than any other Ford plant, was one of the few UAW locals that voted against the concessionary package that passed in March.
The contract modifications passed with 59 percent agreeing to the deal. Walkowicz said he sent a petition through the plant that emboldened workers to oppose more concessions.