With the normal amount of fanfare, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the UAW opened their negotiations, which, as always, will be difficult and contentious. There probably have been periods when everything was sweet and happy, but not in anyone's recent memory.
Among the challenges — and there are plenty — certainly the most difficult has to be the corruption scandal that the UAW and primarily FCA have been involved in the past many months. Although it would appear that things are settling down on the legal front, there are quite a few lingering memories of the payoffs and kickbacks, including some serious prison sentences. Those are not memories that members recall fondly.
When you realize just how much UAW members have gone through over the past couple of decades, the last thing they needed was to discover that UAW management had been stealing from their training funds.
Assuming that even these sores heal, there are still plenty of issues to contend with. It does not seem that long ago when the union and the companies hammered out an agreement that allowed for an entirely new class of hourly worker who would be paid less due to the struggles of the companies.
The companies also agreed to give workers a share of their profits, and while a bunch of members have been grateful for the substantial amounts distributed, they would now like to make those annual payments automatic rather than based on the success of a particular period.
Regardless of just how well the economy is doing, there are always plenty of controversial matters to discuss and eventually settle.
It never seems like a pretty picture, but somehow these union and management disagreements always get resolved. Regardless of how it starts, how ugly it gets or how intractable both sides might seem to be, it will be settled.
There may be a few drops of blood spilled on one side or the other, but considering that this ritual has been going on since the Battle of the Overpass and the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, we wish all parties luck and Godspeed toward a resolution.