Detroit 3 job and product commitments have been big sweeteners in the prior two rounds of contract negotiations with the UAW. With several factories hungry for new and replacement vehicles to build, such commitments are sure to be a part of this year's contracts as well.
UAW negotiators are in the home stretch of bargaining with the Detroit 3. The current four-year contracts expire Monday, but can be extended by mutual agreement.
Hourly job security used to hang on the Jobs Bank, which guaranteed laid-off workers almost full pay until they could be reinserted into the work force.
But since the Jobs Bank's demise in 2009, the best job security comes from building a popular vehicle productively, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the industry and labor group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
All three automakers have plants and products in play this cycle.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' apparent decision to move the Jeep Cherokee from Toledo, Ohio, and CEO Sergio Marchionne's comment about bringing trucks back to the U.S. from Mexico could set off a chain of product movement.
The Cherokee shares a platform with the Dodge Dart, assembled in Belvidere, Ill., and the Chrysler 200, built in Sterling Heights, Mich. Either of those plants could build the Cherokee within a short time using existing lines and tooling.
According to the automaker's May 2014 future product plan, several new vehicles from FCA's U.S. brands will need to find assembly homes, including the Chrysler 100, a Dodge subcompact hatchback, a single replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and two Chrysler crossovers, one midsize and one full-size.