As the UAW this year seeks to roll back or eliminate the lower-paying Tier 2 wage system at the Detroit 3, there's a model to the north that auto worker Lyle Little likes.
Unlike entry-level hires in the United States, Little, who was hired into Ford's Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant in October, eventually can earn the same maximum wages as legacy workers who started decades earlier.
It will take a 10-year ladder of ascending raises to get there under a contract that the Detroit 3 negotiated with Canadian auto workers in 2012.
But that's better than the thousands of UAW-represented workers hired since 2011, the vast majority of whom can never catch up to their older Detroit 3 co-workers under existing four-year contracts that expire in September.
That inability is, by definition, what makes those UAW hires Tier 2.
"What we have here is easier to swallow," said Little, a 23-year-old native of Windsor, Ontario, whose father, Tim Little, is an auto worker at Ford's Essex Engine Plant in Windsor.
The Canadian model for entry-level wages is sure to be considered when UAW bargainers begin contract negotiations with their Detroit 3 counterparts this year, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the industry and labor group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
While the Detroit 3 won't formally comment on negotiations, they accepted this system when it was put in place in 2012.